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Thread: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

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    Question Jupiter's Great Red Spot



    Hey everyone!

    Glad to see the forum is back up and running again! I was so frustrated while it was down because I had just joined and have lots of questions! lol

    So last night from my location, I had a great opportunity to view The Great Red Spot on Jupiter, but I couldn't do it! I need help!

    As a reminder I own a zhumell z8 and an Orion skyprobeST. Clear skies in the PNW right now are precious and when I realized the spot was in transit during early night hours and the sky was actually clear I got excited.

    I tried different combos of my filters and eyepieces but could only make up the two bands I normally see.

    What's my best best for seeing the spot?

    Also worth noting.. had I been able to stay up an hour or so later the spot would have been dead center on the planet, but I had to call it an evening because I had to get up at 6 the next morning. I noticed I have another chance if weather permits on Sunday.. but I am wondering if it's even possible with my equipment??

    Happy to be back on here!!

    -Heather

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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    The Z8 is quite capable of allowing you to see the GRS. Conditions need to be very good with a very steady atmosphere and Jupiter needs to be as high as possible in the sky. And of course the GRS needs to be facing us. I was looking at the GRS through an 8" Dob a couple of weeks ago.

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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    Hello Heather!

    The Great Red Spot should be easily viewable with your Z8, and no filter required. What eyepieces do you have at your disposal?

    The GRS can be subtle, and it at first appears as a salmon-colored swelling or maybe a pimple on the southern equatorial band. Good seeing conditions are quite helpful here. And probably an eyepiece somewhere between 6mm to a 10mm would be helpful with that scope, or just as much power as the sky and seeing will support on a given night.

    The thing with Jupiter is that the more you observe it, the more detail you begin to pick out with the equatorial and temperate bands. On nights of great seeing, you'll be gobsmacked at the detail you can pick up.

    Remember, the GRS can be subtle.

    Here is my log entry from my very first GRS observation:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bladekeeper's Astronomical Bathroom Reader
    The highlight of our session tonight, though, was Jupiter. We started with the 30mm EP. The Boy was impressed by the red bands "I can see two red bands!" and "aww neat, look at the moons!" We could only see 3 of the moons. I bumped the power with the 9mm. One of the three moons resolved into two, so all four Galilean moons were now accounted for.

    But the best part was, we could see the GREAT RED SPOT!! Yay! Our first GRS sighting! It was on its way round the planet, but it was indeed there, an orangey looking bulge on and/or touching a red band. The Boy was so exciting he began texting his best friend about it.
    And my most recent sighting...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bladekeeper's Astronomical Bathroom Reader
    I quickly pushed the power up to 173× with the 8.8mm. A nice sharp view with a bonus of a Great Red Spot transit. The GRS appeared as a small salmon-colored dot on the southern equatorial band. Across the way was a dark grey smudge on the northern equatorial band. Several temperate bands showed themselves as well. The four big moons made for an interesting arrangement. I had Io way out by itself on the eastern side. On the other side of Jupiter, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto formed a small triangle. Pretty darn cool. I moved over to catch a view through both refractors, but the sky wasn't supporting a good view through these scopes, and I was too tired and stressed to play around with them too much.
    Keep trying. You'll definitely get it. It's just a matter of time.
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    Bad timing? The GRS did not rotate into view until around 2:30am last night.
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    If you have an eyepiece that is the same as the focal length of your scope f/5 = 5mm eyepiece try starting there. It will give you a 1mm exit pupil which is a good starting point when viewing planets.
    There is a transit of Ganymede tonight starting around 21:30
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    The Z8 is f/6. I find my ES 6.7mm 82 works very well for planetary work. But the new ES 8.8mm 82 was very nice too.
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    I think it was just timing. There are a few free apps that tell you exactly when the GRS comes around in your area of the sky. Tonight is a perfect chance. The spot is right in a great position starting just before 10 p.m. West coast time with a nice transit with shadow bonus by Ganymede.
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    Hi Heather! Keep trying you'll get it! It will be worth the wait!
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    Hello Heather,
    Try all the advice given before and keep staring at it. After some minutes your brain will start to discover more and more details.
    First time I saw it, I though it was just my imagination so I sketch it and later on checked that IT was!
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    Default Re: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    Hello Heather,

    In 38 years of astronomy I have rarely seen it. Yet I have friends who have seen it often (no filter). I'd say keep watching, just like nebula's and galaxies it takes a bit of practice. And like musiclucho says, your brain must recognize it. It's that is true of almost everything you will seek. He is also right about the sketching.

    Hope you see it soon.
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