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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Jupiter Zoo

What an amazing year! 2011 was a very productive one, offering our astronomy community numerous chances to capture the planets and especially the biggest one; Jupiter! Often, the atmospheric conditions were good enough to make high resolution planetary photography possible even from the backyard!

This is a short video clip of Jupiter on Sept. 26th, 2011 at 20:54 GMT, one month before its opposition. All photos have been taken at 3860mm focal length using a TIS DBK21 color camera on an old Dall Kirkham cassegrain telescope.
This RGB composite has been developed with the software Giotto by following certain processing steps described here. You can easily detect Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a storm having almost the same diameter as Earth. [Wikipedia]
Although Jupiter would need to be about 75 times as massive to fuse hydrogen and become a star, the smallest red dwarf is only about 30 percent larger in radius than Jupiter. [Wikipedia]
The shadow of Jupiter's icy moon Europa can be detected  as a dark spot on some of the images, an evidence of a Sun eclipse on Jupiter. However, this is something occuring frequently.

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