Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jupiter Impact Mark - Observed!

Not a great night/morning for observing. Thin high level clouds, ordinary seeing (maybe 2-3/5). I set up my 12" Lightbridge on the front driveway and waited until 2:30am, which is when it was predicted that the impact mark would be visible. As I waited, I watched the gas giant from about 1:30am onwards. Through patches of good seeing, the cloud bands looked nice and well defined, some swirls evident. The four Jovian giant moons sat to the right of the planet. A nice sight!

Bang on 2:30am, I was observing Jupiter when the mark stood out, visually. I moved the scope around to make sure I wasn't looking at a spec of dust or something to that degree. Nope, it remained in the same place on Jupiter as I moved the scope around. It was almost dead center, high up on the planet's disc per my apparent view (Southern pole region). A very dark little spot, perhaps not quite as prominent as the shadow of a Jovian moon during transit. But, it was definitely noticeable and clear using my 10mm Radian eyepiece (giving me about 152X magnification). I did try this barlowed but it wasn't as sharp and clear as the lower power view.

I observed it for about 20 minutes, and then a thick cloud band came along and terminated my session. I am SO glad that I stayed up and got to see this!!! It's quite a celestial event, and to see the remnants of an impact of a comet or asteroid into Jupiter is something that I shan't soon forget! I am looking forward to reading about what exactly caused this.

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