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What should Jupiter look like?

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hi, viewed Jupiter for the first time tonight.I've an ed80 and a 40mm,20mm+9mm and barlow.Back garden with a fair bit of light pollution.I could see Jupiter as a bright disk with 2 faint coloured bands.I could also see the moons as white disks.My question is should i be able to see more detail?;)

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That's pretty much what I see with my 80ED Jason. A lot will depend on the magnification you were using, and how good the seeing is. With Jupiter so low, it's hard to get any high levels of magnification on it anyway, and with an 80mm, you're limited to around 160x, although I've been able to push mine farther with quite reasonable views (under good conditions). I think you need to study the planet with the highest mag you can for some time, train your eye to see the details, although with 80mm aperture there are limits to the scopes resolving power anyway.

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you may want to try a variating polarization filter, it may give you a little more detail on jupiter, it helps me, without it it is almost to bright, and i feel some detail is lost.


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I detect that you were a bit dissappointed with your first observation of The giant planet.. Seeing plays a big role in how the detail is presented, and also the planet is not really placed well for observing, being quite low, and therefore earths atmosphere is also a barrier to clarity. Don't despair, the good views will reveal themselves, all you need is patience. Sometimes the seeing will change unexpectedly, even as you are looking. It may be brief, but it can occur. High magnification will only make things worse if the seeing is poor. The more you rack it up, the worse it will get.

You will have better nights, so don't worry too much about tonight.

One other point, try not to observe over the tops of buildings. They can dissipate heat as the the night progresses, and those currents of warm air will distort seeing too.


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Keep at it. It's worth viewing Jupiter every clear night - you'll be surprised how it changes from night to night.

A green filter is useful for bringing out detail, if you cant stretch to a polarising one.

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Hello Jason,

I used an 8" reflector to view Jupiter last night and did not see any more detail than you did in your ED80.

Jup is now long past closest approach and is very low so it's tough to see much detail.

Keep at it as sooner or later you will see the great red (pink) spot and a moon shadow transit.

Next time look at the polar regions you should just be able to make out that they look a little dimer than the main body of Jupiter.

Eventually your eye will become trained to see the subtle details.

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