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JunoCam images on PVOL


junocam The largest collection of images in PVOL correspond to Jupiter observations obtained by amateur astronomers from all over the world. The Juno mission around Jupiter has provided the highest spatial resolution observations of the planet. The context of these observations comes many times from amateur observations and the Juno mission has stablished a large-scale collaboration with amateur astronomers and citizen scientists through the JunoCam instrument (PI: Candice Hansen, Planetary Sciences Institute) and the https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam website. Now, to facilitate the comparison of these two very diverse datasets PVOL incorporates maps of Junocam images accesible through its search engine with the user "j unocam" or simply by date. The images in PVOL correspond to cylindrical maps of color images of Jupiter. Future updates of this dataset may incorporate observations in the methane band. A list of images at their glorious high spatial resolution is also available in PVOL at its Junocam images tab in the upper menu.

The current data uploaded into PVOL incorporates RGB observations from Juno's perijoves 3 to 11 and a new perijove will be uploaded with a cadence of one per week approximately.

Mapping of these images and their incorporation in PVOL has been possible thanks to the project Europlanet 2024 RI and the scientific collaboration with Drs. Candice Hansen (LPI) and Glenn S. Orton (JPL).

Mutual Phenomena of Jupiter satellites in 2021


Phemus2021 In 2021 Jupiter will be edge-on to the Sun and Earth (with equinox on May 2). This geometry will allow the observations of several mutual phenomena ("phemus" from phénomenes mutuelles in French) of the galilean moons (transits, and eclipses between the galilean moons) resulting in hundreds of events. These kind of events occur over a broad period of time of less than a year separated by 6 Earth years to the previous and next epochs of Phemus.

The IMCCE (Institut de mécanique céleste et de calcul des éphémérides) has initiated an observing campaign with predictions of the timings of the events available at https://www.imcce.fr/recherche/campagnes-observations/phemus/phemu#. The webpage contains information about the tips for observations of the events and tools. Detailed events can inform about the details of the orbits of the satellites and gravity effects on them improving our knowledge of the Jupiter system.

Detailed ephemerides of the events are also available at: http://nsdb.imcce.fr/multisat/nsszph517he.htm.

You can also plan your observations with visualisations of the events using WinJUPOS (Tools > Ephemerides > Graphics). John H. Rogers, from the BAA indicates that some of the events listed by IMCCE are actually behind Jupiter or in its shadow and are not observable and using WinJupos in advance can be a good idea towards a successful plannification of the observation.

BepiColombo flyby of Venus: Request for observations


Jupiter_storm_alert The ESA/JAXA mission BepiColombo will flyby Venus on 15 October at an altitude of 10,720 km above Venus surface. It will observe the planet from 13 October to 17 October with a closest approach on 15 October at 03:58 UT. This will be the first of two flybys to Venus, with the second one scheduled for 10 August 2021 at a very close altitude of 550 km. We would like to invite you to get Venus observations over these days and up to October 21 with emphasis on the closest approach of 15 October. Venus cloud tops observable in the UV rotate around the planet once every 4 days and observations from 11-12 October will characterize the details observable at the time of the closest flyby on 15 October. Observations on 19-20 will be able to characterize the next rotation. Long infrared filters (IR810, methane filters and 1000nm) can be used to study the dynamics of lower levels of the clouds where the atmosphere rotates once every 5 days and where large structures recently discovered and not yet fully understood can be observed (see for instance the following observations from Manos Kardasis from March 2020.)

We warmly invite you to get observations that will help us characterize motions, cloud morphology and changes in Venus cloud fields over the time scale of 2-3 rotations around the planet (8-13 days). Some of you have obtained fantastic observations of Venus surface with combinations of filters close to 1 micron isolating the narrow bands at 1.0, 1.05 and 1.1 microns where the surface becomes observable. Such observations are also highly welcomed.

BepiColombo will observe Venus thermal emissions from 7 to 14 microns obtaining global images of the temperatures at the cloud tops and above the clouds and will obtain detailed spectroscopy in the UV from 145 to 315 nm. Images in the UV and 10 microns (also reflecting thermal properties of the atmosphere at the upper clouds and above) will be obtained by the Akatsuki orbiter. The amateur contribution might provide most of the temporal context of the cloud fields to the BepiColombo spectra and will be very valuable to the mission.

More information:

Jupiter's NTB Plume and Turbulent wake interaction


Jupiter_storm_alert According to the last Jupiter images by Clyde Foster on 16 September, plume P3 has speed up and is approaching two white spots (s1 and s2) located at a latitude further north. Interactions between plume P3 and these white spots may be imminent according to the drift of the futures.

URGENT OBSERVATIONS of this region are needed to study this interaction. Previous large-scale disturbances in the NTB resulted in the plumes being switched off by their complex turbulent interaction with the tails of other plumes.

New storm in the NTropZ-NTBs jetstream


Jupiter_storm_alert Isao Miyazaki and John Rogers report on a new very bright spot in the NTropZ visible in images acquired by Isao Miyazaki on 18 August 2020. The storm is visible as a bright spot in visible wavelengths and is very bright in methane band images. This storm is the start of a new outbreak in the NTBs jetstream. Such convective storms produce NTB Disturbance in a regular cycle with the current event occurring one year ahead of the expected timeline.

Observations at all wavelengths and methane band of all longitudes of the planet are required to monitor the NTB. The outbreaks in the NTB are generally multiple with outbreaks separated in longitude tens of degree and initiated with time differences of one to a few Jupiter rotations.

The drift rate of the initial disturbance is -12.2 +/- 0.1 º/day (system III) at 22.9+/-0.5º (Pg). The plume moves at 165 m/s at 22.9º (pg) just a bit south to the NTB peak jet which in 2016-2017 had a peak velocity of 150 m/s. This means that, as predicted from observations of previous events, the convective disturbance moves faster than the zonal winds with the typical behavior of previous disturbances in the NTB.

We would like to encourage observers to observe ALL LONGITUDES in Jupiter combining visible or IR with methane band images. All previous similar disturbances produced different convective plumes in different longitudes. It is very important to catch the initial convective disturbance in its first 2 Jupiter rotations to acquire a quantitative measurement of its initial growth rate which is directly related with the enery released.

Updated ephemeris (based on tracking from 18 to 21 August) for the first plume are given below but please keep observing all other longitudes for the start of the next disturbances.

Jupiter_storm_alert ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE 03 September: A second convective outbreak has appeared on Jupiter and first imaged on 01 September
by Anthony Wesley and on 02 September by Eric Sussenbach.
The new outbreak drifts similarly to the first outbreak with a drift rate of -11.6º/day and initial position as posted on the right image.
Ephemeris will be posted shortly.

WinJUPOS 11.1.0 (Jupiter), C.M. transit times, 2020/08/28  19:14
Object longitude: L3 = 177,3° - 12,2000°/d * (T - 2020 Aug 18,5)
Time interval: 2020 Aug 16,0 ... 2020 Sep 16,0
Output format: Date UT (C.M. of System 3)
2020 Aug 16   03:51 ( 206°)   13:38 ( 201°)   23:25 ( 196°)
2020 Aug 17   09:13 ( 191°)   19:00 ( 186°)
2020 Aug 18   04:47 ( 181°)   14:34 ( 176°)
2020 Aug 19   00:22 ( 171°)   10:09 ( 166°)   19:56 ( 161°)
2020 Aug 20   05:43 ( 156°)   15:31 ( 151°)
2020 Aug 21   01:18 ( 146°)   11:05 ( 141°)   20:52 ( 136°)
2020 Aug 22   06:40 ( 131°)   16:27 ( 126°)
2020 Aug 23   02:14 ( 121°)   12:02 ( 117°)   21:49 ( 111°)
2020 Aug 24   07:36 ( 106°)   17:23 ( 101°)
2020 Aug 25   03:11 (  97°)   12:58 (  92°)   22:45 (  86°)
2020 Aug 26   08:32 (  81°)   18:20 (  77°)
2020 Aug 27   04:07 (  72°)   13:54 (  66°)   23:41 (  61°)
2020 Aug 28   09:29 (  57°)   19:16 (  52°)
2020 Aug 29   05:03 (  46°)   14:51 (  42°)
2020 Aug 30   00:38 (  37°)   10:25 (  32°)   20:12 (  26°)
2020 Aug 31   06:00 (  22°)   15:47 (  17°)
2020 Sep 01   01:34 (  12°)   11:22 (   7°)   21:09 (   2°)
2020 Sep 02   06:56 ( 357°)   16:43 ( 352°)
2020 Sep 03   02:31 ( 347°)   12:18 ( 342°)   22:05 ( 337°)
2020 Sep 04   07:53 ( 332°)   17:40 ( 327°)
2020 Sep 05   03:27 ( 322°)   23:02 ( 312°)
2020 Sep 06   08:49 ( 307°)   18:36 ( 302°)
2020 Sep 07   04:24 ( 297°)   14:11 ( 292°)   23:58 ( 287°)
2020 Sep 08   09:46 ( 282°)   19:33 ( 277°)
2020 Sep 09   05:20 ( 272°)   15:08 ( 268°)
2020 Sep 10   00:55 ( 262°)   10:42 ( 257°)   20:29 ( 252°)
2020 Sep 11   06:17 ( 248°)   16:04 ( 242°)
2020 Sep 12   01:51 ( 237°)   11:39 ( 233°)   21:26 ( 227°)
2020 Sep 13   07:13 ( 222°)   17:01 ( 218°)
2020 Sep 14   02:48 ( 213°)   12:35 ( 207°)   22:23 ( 203°)
2020 Sep 15   08:10 ( 198°)   17:57 ( 193°)

Additional information can be found on the preliminary report by the BAA, and a second ellaborate report.

UPDATE 08 September: David Hamilton from Puerto Rico has obtained a clear view of a 3rd outbreak in the NTB at L2 approximately 324. A possible previous observation by Andy Casely 2 rotations before and by Cory Schmitz will serve to constrain the first stages of this new storm. New observations of this 3rd outbreak are needed.

Amateur support to Venus research


The Parker Solar Probe (NASA) and BepiColombo (ESA) missions will flyby Venus on July 11th and October 15th. Both missions will obtain observations of Venus coordinated with the Akatsuki mission (JAXA), currently in a long eliptic orbit around the planet.

Researchers on Venus atmosphere are using this opportunity to launch a large ground-based support campaign of these missions and the participation of amateur observers can be fundamental to provide enough data of the Venus atmosphere with context observations in July, August and October.

We have launched a campaign to provide amateur support to these flybys and we are actively requesting Venus observations.

See the Venus amateur campaign at: http://pvol2.ehu.eus/bc/Venus/

All Venus observations submitted to PVOL will be used for this campaign.

Jupiter Storm in the South Temperate Belt


Jupiter_storm_alert Clyde Foster from South Africa reports on the apparation of a bright storm in Jupiter in the South Temperate Belt. The storm suddenly appeared as a bright compact spot South East of Jupiter's Great Red Spot on images acquired on 31 May 2020 at around 00:34 UT. While the storm is observable in most wavelengths, it is particularly well contrasted when using filters in the methane band at 890 nm where high clouds appear bright. As other convective storms its location is in a cyclonic region. Andy Casely from Australia obtained methane maps of the area one Jupiter rotation earlier confirming the sudden apparition of the storm.

Fast observations of Jupiter are requested to follow the evolution of this storm that could grow into a larger disturbance similar to the South Temperate Belt Disturbance developed in February 2018.

The storm is located at longitude 24º (System III) and planetographic latitude -33º. Juno will observe this specific area in 2 days but ground-based images in this period can help to measure the intensity of the convection in this storm. Previous similar storms have developed with different convective cores activating very closely on different days over the first 3-4 days of activity.

Storm Activity on Saturn's North Polar Region


Saturn_polar_storm_alert Andy Casely from Australia reports on the apparition of a well-defined bright spot at high latitude on Saturn at L3 224deg/+71deg first observed on 30 March 2020. This could be a revival of the system of storms observed over most of 2018, which also produced several features observed over 2019. Previous observations by Clyde Foster in South Africa and Trevor Barry in Australia allow to calculate a preliminar set of ephemeris to help with new observations of this storm.

Fast observations of Saturn are requested to investigate the dynamics of this possible storm and the general state of Saturn's polar atmosphere.

The image on the right has been edited for visualization purposes. You can see Andy's original observation on his Google photos webpage.

New impact in Jupiter



An amateur astronomer: Ethan Chappel from Cibolo, Texas, US observed a bolide impact with Jupiter. The approximate time of the impact was 2019-08-07 04:07 UTC. Ethan captured his video on the red channel with a C8, Chroma Red filter and ASI 290MM. The image on the right was produced by the DeTecT software that uses differential photometry images of a video to look for possible impacts in the planet.

Congratulations to Ethan on this discovery.

Observers from the American continent observing the planet at the same time may have got also a video observation of the same impact. If anyone has a second detection it would help to constrain the size and mass of the object, specially if the second detection was made with a different filter. The flash seems too small at present to have caused an impact scar. The flash was recorded at approximate coordinates: 10.0º (System III) and -19.0 (Pg). This is about 60 deg west of Jupiter's GRS. A search on images acquired over the next minutes/hours of the same region might be worthy. An impact scar is unlikely though.

Jupiter's GRS Alert


GRS_Alert Observations over the last couple of years have shown discrete events of red material flowing apart from the GRS. This activity has increased over 2019 and recent observations obtained by several amateurs including notable images by A. Wesley and C. Foster show "flakes" outside of the GRS and a distorted shape.

Observations on May 22 show a very distorted GRS in blue and methane band filters that indicate an intensification of this recent activity. The images on the right were obtained by Anthony Wesley.

Observations are requested to monitor this activity. Red, Blue and methane band filters are required to investigate the nature of the behavior of the GRS. Frequent observations are needed as the activity is evolving on a daily basis. Ephemeris of the GRS transits on the Central Meridian of the planet can be found here