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What's the best view of Jupiter you've had?


RobertI
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I had a variable session last night observing Jupiter with the C8. The scope was behaving itself having cooled down for 2 hours but the conditions were variable, hazy one moment, crystal clear the next. Seeing was ok with some slight rippling around the edge of Jupiter's disc but the equatorial belts and northern and southern regions were clearly visible, the equatorial regions being clearly browny/orange. No Great Red spot. There were swirls (not sure of technical term) and other detail visible in the clearer moments and occasionally the image bacame super High Definition for a fraction of a second before dissolving again, never quite staying long enough to identify anything specific. It made me wonder what it would be like to observe Jupiter in 'perfect' conditions, such as at the top of Mauna Kea, and what could be seen.

What's the best view of Jupiter you've ever had? What made the conditions so good, what scope did you use and what were you able to see that you couldn't in more normal conditions?

Edited by RobertI
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I remember one night, back in the 90's, all of a sudden Jupiter seemed to fall into focus so sharply, for a brief mini-second, that it took my breath away. It was the first time I realised how impaired we are by the air currents. The same thing happened last year to Saturn. It's a real "whoa, what happened there!" moment. 

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Last weekend at Kielder.  Conditions were excellent and I could see banding and slight brown colouration in the southern area.  The four main moons were in direct alignment, from 8.00pm across to 2.00pm, as we looked at the planet - beautifully balanced with two either side, (sorry if that is a technically inept way of describing this).  

What made it particularly special was being able to share this with quite a few novices (even more novice than me, which takes some doing!) who all went "WOW" when they looked for the first time, and then came back for more, and more, and more ....

Two years ago we were the the lucky recipients of "Kielder Kindness" when we attended without a scope and had the opportunity to look at other people's scopes, and chat, and learn.  It felt really good to be able to repay some of that last week :)

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This thread may be of interest:

I love the views in a good four inch scope, they are just so stable under normal seeing conditions compared with larger scopes. In a larger scope there is certainly more colour and finer detail visible in the moments of good seeing but you have to wait longer for those times to occur.

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Last night wasn't the best seeing here, and it was the "boring side" of jupiter, but even so some nice detail to be seen (see attached, 60 sec quick avi). On an occasion recently, the seeing was good enough to show both a moon and its shadow as perfect disks - doesn't happen in the UK too often though!

Chris23_51_02_g4_ap11.jpg.691e139c3ff1b08bc106f253cc7d9fdf.jpg

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Easy one. March 2016 (somehow wrote Down March 6 in my report. but it was the 8.)

Jupiter at opposition double moon and shadowtransit. Observed at up to 338x (my max Power)

with 8" dob f6 zoom+barlow. Never seen details and colors on the planet like this before.

And the moons were so Clear With the ink black shadow just NeXT to them, real 3D feel to it.

A fantastic  experience making up for sooo many rainy Nights.

 

A bonus was the 'online' sharing of reports With other SGL members here in this forum. :).

 

Stellarium :

bestjupiter.jpg.c4f66f7bf7c625c570fbaffdd41caea7.jpg

 

Rune

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Under good seeing large aperture opens up more and more finer details. My 15" dob opens up the bands showing many fine riffles, purple/blue hook/loop festoons, white ovals,colored barges etc. The caps will be finely shaded.

The seeing to support this observing happens frequently here. I also find that light haze/fine high cloud really helps this planet as does observing near twilight- the Baader single polariser comes out then. A bit too much mag will wash the colors out on Jupiter so I use a zoom extensively to catch the seeing and preserve contrast.

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7 hours ago, The Head Gardener said:

Last weekend at Kielder.  Conditions were excellent and I could see banding and slight brown colouration in the southern area.  The four main moons were in direct alignment, from 8.00pm across to 2.00pm, as we looked at the planet - beautifully balanced with two either side, (sorry if that is a technically inept way of describing this).  

What made it particularly special was being able to share this with quite a few novices (even more novice than me, which takes some doing!) who all went "WOW" when they looked for the first time, and then came back for more, and more, and more ....

Two years ago we were the the lucky recipients of "Kielder Kindness" when we attended without a scope and had the opportunity to look at other people's scopes, and chat, and learn.  It felt really good to be able to repay some of that last week :)

As above, I was observing due east of Kielder on high ground overlooking an expanse of moorland. The high vantage point and some haze to the south by south east, provided highly engaging views and exquisite detailing and many festoons were revealed, with my VX14, paracorr and 13 Ethos combination. It was nice to observe the two moons balanced each side.

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3 hours ago, jetstream said:

Under good seeing large aperture opens up more and more finer details. My 15" dob opens up the bands showing many fine riffles, purple/blue hook/loop festoons, white ovals,colored barges etc. The caps will be finely shaded.

The seeing to support this observing happens frequently here. I also find that light haze/fine high cloud really helps this planet as does observing near twilight- the Baader single polariser comes out then. A bit too much mag will wash the colors out on Jupiter so I use a zoom extensively to catch the seeing and preserve contrast.

I think that is our problem Gerry, the seeing is just too variable over here so larger apertures give mixed results, sometimes great but more often than not affected by poor seeing.

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For great Jupiter observations, those of us old enough to remember the Shoemaker-Levy impact in 1994 will probably consider it an all-time great! A neighbour (7 at the time) came up to me in Oxford recently and said how clearly she remembered it, and said how it started an interest in astronomy in her (she looked through my 4" lf refractor on several evenings at it back in 1994).

Chris

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Thanks for all your posts and observations on your observations!

@Stu thanks for the link to that superb post last year, inspiring to see what is possible in a top quality 100mm scope. I think your descriptions of your observations were great and I really like your idea of indicating against a photo what you saw. That has inspired me with an idea for recording what I see - draw a disc on a piece if paper with the belts and zones drawn on very lightly as a template, and then when I am at the scope observing, circle the areas where I can see detail and annotate with words rather than try and draw. Perhaps this is an acknowledged approach but I'll give it a go next time I think. Thanks for the inspiration to do some more observing of Jupiter!

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29 minutes ago, RobertI said:

Thanks for all your posts and observations on your observations!

@Stu thanks for the link to that superb post last year, inspiring to see what is possible in a top quality 100mm scope. I think your descriptions of your observations were great and I really like your idea of indicating against a photo what you saw. That has inspired me with an idea for recording what I see - draw a disc on a piece if paper with the belts and zones drawn on very lightly as a template, and then when I am at the scope observing, circle the areas where I can see detail and annotate with words rather than try and draw. Perhaps this is an acknowledged approach but I'll give it a go next time I think. Thanks for the inspiration to do some more observing of Jupiter!

Thanks Robert, glad it was useful.

Any method of recording what you see is valid as far as I'm concerned, and what you describe sounds very sensible. Give it a go and see how you get on.

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The best view of Jupiter I've had was almost definitely with a Celestron C8 Edge a couple of years back. I can't remember which EP I used, just that the seeing was surprisingly still which enabled me to see almost what I'd describe as a photographic view of the planet with decent image scale and detail. Jupiter was pretty well placed from memory which obviously helped, but I still think this was a one off view as far as I can tell, I've owned 8" SCT's before and after the the C8 Edge yet that one night stands out to me.

Surprisingly the second best view I've had was with a humble ED80 when the GRB was showing some quite striking orange/rust red colour. Not the image scale of the C8 but in some ways I actually preferred the razor sharp view. I do agree that smaller apertures seem more consistent under poor conditions, I'm guessing due to both cooling quicker and the photons entering the scope are less likely to be from opposing air cells perhaps? 

 

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17 hours ago, jetstream said:

The seeing to support this observing happens frequently here. I also find that light haze/fine high cloud really helps this planet as does observing near twilight

An interesting point thanks for highlighting this. I was recently reading 'Frank's book of the Telescope' written in 1955 and he makes the same point, light fog/haze can often create (or is the result of?) conditions of good seeing. He also points put that sunset and sunrise are very still and that the first hour after sunset is good. Kind of makes sense as hot air balloonists tend to launch at sunset or sunrise for the same reason. 

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Strangely never had a "good" view of Jupiter with anything big.

"Best" was with a small 70mm refractor. Jupiter was small, very small but clear and sharp, as were the points that were the moons - for what i could see. Under what I will describe as identical conditions the next night I had a chance to see it through a big SCT at reasonable magnification. It was garbage, to say the least.

Waiting for Jupiter to get a bit easier and try with a Tal 100RS and an ED 90 this year.

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I've had some great views of Jupiter over the years, with all my scopes, when the seeing conditions were excellent. I find that very high magnifications don't (generally) deliver the sharpest and best contrast on Jupiter so I'm usually using beteeen 140x and 250x, the latter with my 12" scope and the former with the 4 inchers. Last night the views were some of the best this year at just 129x with my Tak 100 refractor. The eyepiece was the Pentax 7mm XW. Lots of belt structure visible, a couple of dark festoon type features and the great red spot during the last 3rd of it's disk transit.

I have the feeling that this year will stuggle to match previous years though, due to Jupiters relatively low altitude from the UK.

Overall my very best views have come with the 12" dobsonian, often around twilight and when the seeing is nice and steady. During conditions like that I've had views that have made me gasp despite having observed Jupiter for over 30 years :shocked:

 

Edited by John
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Best I've had was through an Astro Physics 7" refractor on Mt Hamilton when i was visiting the US years ago. It was a fine instrument but as much as anything, the seeing is what will limit you on Jupiter. I've looked through many other big top end scopes since but never quite seen the same detail. Same with Mercury. One rare morning I was easily able to see surface features in an 8" scope but on pretty much every other occasion it was a ball of mush. I guess that's the beauty of having your scope mounted in an observatory if you're able to do so. Much easier to take a quick look every clear night and much better chance to catch the rare moments of exceptional seeing :)

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When I think back to my best views of anything, the conditions have played a major part in delivering it. Very, very occasionally you get a night when practically anything you do works well. When that does happen you get a little peek into the world where your instrument shows it's full potential and a wee bit more :icon_biggrin:

Such moments stay with us fortunately and keep us going through the more usual mediocre conditions :rolleyes2:

I wonder how it works for those fortunate enough to observe from places where the conditions are consistently excellent :icon_scratch: 

 

 

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The best view I ever had of Jupiter was with a Skywatcher 180mm Mak/Cass using binoviewers. The 3D view is something I won't forget.

Unfortunately in the Northern Hemisphere Jupiter is now in a negative declination and will remain below this level until 2022/23. This will mean it will be low in UK so not the best time to view it although I am sure we will do our best to continue observing this lovely Planet.

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I tend to determine pretty swiftly whether the current session is going to be worth spending on Jupiter. If it is, I always get at least 4 microseconds of perfect image over a period of about two hours. It's worth it. The GRS / moon transits make it even more so. Whether with a TV85 or Mak 102, it takes patience and relaxation. Observing from a seated position helps. Make sure you've eaten and are hydrated, keep your head, hands and feet warm. Relax the (closed) eyelid on the other eye or leave it open and cover it with your hand or a patch. Relax your whole face (jaw!), neck and shoulders. Breathe. It will happen.

:happy11:

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Best ever was using C9.25 and Baader Hyperion 36mm aspheric. 

Key for me was a) good viewing conditions, 2) tracking so I could focus on the view without anything distracting me and iii) patience - spent probably 40mins or more just watching Jupiter

Patience, no distractions and comfortable position. ?

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7 minutes ago, Tonynexevo925 said:

Best ever was using C9.25 and Baader Hyperion 36mm aspheric. 

Key for me was a) good viewing conditions, 2) tracking so I could focus on the view without anything distracting me and iii) patience - spent probably 40mins or more just watching Jupiter

Patience, no distractions and comfortable position. ?

That's a very low mag Tony, in good seeing you should be able to get x150 to x200 nicely with a C925?

I totally agree about tracking. I find a manual alt az much easier for star hopping, but even a basic EQ mount is great for allowing you to concentrate on the target, and keep it on axis for best results. An EQ Platform works well for this with a Dob.

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

That's a very low mag Tony, in good seeing you should be able to get x150 to x200 nicely with a C925?

I totally agree about tracking. I find a manual alt az much easier for star hopping, but even a basic EQ mount is great for allowing you to concentrate on the target, and keep it on axis for best results. An EQ Platform works well for this with a Dob.

Totally agree Stu - didn't intend to give the wrong impression - was responding specifically to the best ever view and didn't have anything gelse with me at the time (early days) and didn't want to risk my vision going back into the house etc.  

Not a mistake I make anymore - usually have more kit than required now ??

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14 minutes ago, Tonynexevo925 said:

Totally agree Stu - didn't intend to give the wrong impression - was responding specifically to the best ever view and didn't have anything gelse with me at the time (early days) and didn't want to risk my vision going back into the house etc.  

Not a mistake I make anymore - usually have more kit than required now ??

Ah I see :), apologies didn't mean to take anything away from your post.

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