Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jupiter and the Great Red Spot

The last couple of weeks I've been in a reading slump.  I just can't seem to concentrate on reading.  I'll start reading a book and then after the first 30 or so pages loose interest.  It's not the book's fault, it's just that I'm not in a reading mood.

So in an attempt to get my mind on something else and perhaps reawaken my reading appetite I've been focusing a bit more on my astronomy hobby.  In particular getting some more imaging done.

So, without any further needless verbosity I'm proud to present an image of Jupiter and three of its moons.  These were taken under less than ideal conditions, but turned out reasonably well.

If you look very closely at Jupiter you'll be able to spot the Great Red Spot.  Something else to take notice of is that Jupiter only has one belt at the moment (the dark brownish colored band to the lower right of the image).  The Southern equatorial belt has disappeared, but it will make an eventual return.  The cause of this phenomenon isn't known and it is interesting to keep an eye on Jupiter to see when the SEB will appear again.

Jupiter was also at opposition on the 21st of September, which means that it is on the opposite side of the Sun and that the Earth is between the two.  It is also the closest distance to the Earth since 1963, at a mere 592 million kilometers!

So fellow bookworms, don't miss out on this chance to see Jupiter at its brightest.  Go outside and look to the East.  Jupiter will be the brightest "star" you can see rising from 20:00 onwards.  If you have binoculars give spotting the Galilean moons a go.  If you are lucky you should see four bright dots surrounding the planet's disc. These are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, the four largest and brightest moons surrounding Jupiter.


  1. Top shot indeed, makes me want to go outside right now and look around for celestial things.

  2. This is an awesome image-nicely done and I'm slightly envious now!