Jupiter and Ganymede – 21st November 2012.

by on , under Astronomy Blog

A clear night beckoned, so I missed the meeting of Bedford AS (Sorry Folks!) so I could get out and image Jupiter as it approached opposition.

Jupiter looked absolutely wonderful, with Ganymede and its shadow in transit at the start of the observing session.
The Red Spot was just coming onto the disk as well adding to the drama.

I used my £8 webcam to take some images of the planet.
Although the images didn’t come out as good as I had hoped this time, there was an unexpected bonus at the end of the evening. I kept imaging until the Red Spot reached the other side of the disk before calling it a day. (I hope to put the resulting images into an animation once I have finished processing them all). If I hadn’t had to get up for work I would have probably made a night of it.

Right at the end of the session I also took an exposure that was more favourably exposed for Ganymede after it had left the disk of Jupiter.
So I put the two images together to make this composite.

When I looked closely at the image of Ganymede I thought it looked like there was a bright spot and a possible light band running across it. Trust the cheap camera and wobbly seeing conditions to give such awful artefacts!

Anyway, after a lot of thought and deliberation, I did a simulation using Stellarium.
This did show in fact that Ganymede was presenting a bright spot and a number of features, that give the impression of a light band across it, towards us at that time as shown below.

I never thought I’d be able to distinguish any features on another Moon, even vaguely.

So as you can imagine, I’m well chuffed!


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