Saturday, June 15, 2019

Europa Eclipse

Well, it wasn't a dark, moonless sky, but I did some observing anyway.

Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, was going to transit the face of Jupiter, casting a shadow in its wake.

Average seeing conditions were predicted last night by the astronomy weather forecast on the Clear Dark Sky website.  This tempered my expectations.  Average conditions meant that I might be able to make out the shadow, but details on Jupiter's face would be fuzzy and blurred.

I went out while hoping the actual conditions would turn out to be better than the forecast.  It sometimes turns out that way, but not last night.

The telescope tracked Jupiter for a couple of hours with hardly a corrective nudge from me.  I was pretty happy with that!

Halfway through the transit, I noticed something unusual.  Not only could I see Europa's shadow, I could also see Europa despite the glare of Jupiter!  Usually, moons are lost in the glare when they cross.

It was then that I put my planetary imager on the telescope and captured a few gigabytes of data.

Here is one of the images that I captured:

Jupiter, June 15th, 2019 at 0310 UTC
In addition to Europa and its shadow, you can also see the Great Red Spot starting to make an appearance in the lower left.

While it's not as good as an image that I'd like to have captured, I think I'm fairly happy with it.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty cool photo. I can tell from your image that Jupiter's spot is smaller than I remember from years back.


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