Jupiter

We’ve recently had some good views of Jupiter and, more to the point, got to see some intriguing Jovian moon interactions.

One night we watched the moons coming in for an incredibly close interaction around Jupiter itself. We got to watch Callisto transversing the pole of Jupiter, which was something I’ve not seen before, and then as it was leaving the surface Io was approaching and both Ganymede and Europa, which had very close together, were also approaching from the other side. The three on the same side were less than half a Jupiter distance apart. It was fun to watch them coming together over the evening (the seeing wasn’t great for much else) and especially exciting to watch the disks of Io and Callisto coming and going over the limb of Jupiter – tiny white blobs appearing and disappearing.

Another night there was a shadow transit on one of the main cloud bands – directly below the Great Red Spot. It wasn’t the best view of the GRS I’ve ever had, but it was nice to see such a conjunction of objects.

I think what I like about observing Jupiter is that it is a dynamic system. I like that the moons offer different stylings over the night and from night to night. I like that different conditions determine what level of detail you can see in the cloud bands and that you get different experiences of it as a result – and that that too changes over the night as Jupiter revolves.

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