Tonight! Great Red Spot transits Jupiter

January 12, 2014 | By | 1 Comment
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Sunday 12 January 2014 Look low above the North Eastern horizon tonight as soon as the sky is dark and you will notice a dazzling bright star. Point even a very small telescope at the ‘star’ and you will discover that you are looking at the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter.

Look at Jupiter tonight to see the largest storm in our solar system, the Great Red Spot. Not only is is it a very old storm (hundreds of years), it is very large at about 12,000 by 25,000 km and is big enough to hold two Earths. Sadly the colour has faded in the last few years and it should really be called the Great Salmon Spot! Given that Jupiter rotates approximately every 9 hours and 50 minutes, you have to know when to look for it. I use this handy webpage which calculates what astronomers the Great Red Spot’s transit times (i.e. when it passes across the face of Jupiter as seen from Earth). Tonight, it transits at 10:26 am AEST / 11:26 pm AEDT.

Great Red Spot and Europa (and its shadow) visible on the disc of Jupiter. Chart prepared for 9:42 pm AEST / 10:42 pm AEDT 5 January 2014. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission. Note that the view through your telescope may look different depending the design of your telescope.

Chart prepared for 10:26 pm AEST / 11:26 pm AEDT 12 January 2014. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission. Note that the view through your telescope may look different depending the design of your telescope.

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