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Jupiter impact 2009

As you may have heard; a comet or asteroid has hit Jupiter, leaving a scar near it's Southern Pole. It was discovered on the 19th July. It is comparable in size to some of the larger scars left by Comet Shoemaker-Levi 9, back in 1994.

Unfortunately Jupiter is a late night / early morning object and still at a low altitude (27°) even when at its highest in the sky. This is when Jupiter is due South at about 1am. Most of the time we are clouded out, or the turbulent air we are experiencing make it appear like a boiling egg. The Shoemaker - Levi scars lasted for more than a month, so fingers crossed evidence of the impact will be around until late August.

For those of you with telescopes of 4" or larger, the impact scar should in theory be possible to view on a night of calm(ish) atmosphere. Remember that with a telescope the image is inverted and back to front, so when you are looking for the impact zone, it will be at the top of the disc, and over the period of an hour, it will move slowly, from right to left. The following list of times are when the impact zone is straddling the central line from top to bottom of Jupiter, the meridian (and so it will be at its clearest to see).

All times are BST (so from the U.K., the actual time on the clock) I've only put down the practical times for observation. Remember that 01:00 on a date, is 1am at the beginning of that day.

Dates for August

DateTimes Notes
6th 01:59
8th 03:37 23:28
11th 01:07
13th 02:44 22:25 Maybe too early
15th 04:22
16th 00:13
18th 01:52
20th 03:29 23:20
23rd 00:58
25th 02:37 22:27 Jupiter is higher than on the 13th, maybe good enough.
27th 04:14
28th 00:05
30th 01:43 21:33 Unlikely.

For those of you looking for more detailed information about the event try http://jupiter.samba.org.

It's time to do lot's of Jovial dancing to keep the clouds away, cheers,

Simon Lang (Assistant Astro. Secretary)


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Last modified: Thu Aug 6 12:59:38 2009