Emily LakdawallaNov 26, 2013

A case of the measles for Jupiter?

It has been a difficult couple of months for amateur astronomer Christopher Go's home country of the Philippines, which has experienced back-to-back disasters of a devastating earthquake and super-typhoon Haiyan. But Go is okay, and his skies have cleared, so he is now back to observing Jupiter. He has found Jupiter to be putting on a fun show for observers: it's sprouting little red spots "like it has a measles attack!"

Here are two views of Jupiter that Go took on successive nights, showing approximately opposite faces of the planet. The new little red spots are in the north temperate zone -- the uppermost white zone.

Jupiter on November 25, 2013
Jupiter on November 25, 2013 On November 25, 2013, Jupiter appeared to amateur astronomer Christopher Go "like it has a measles attack! Red spots galore." The red storm in the south is Oval BA (the "little red spot").Image: Christopher Go
Jupiter on November 24, 2013
Jupiter on November 24, 2013 The Great Red Spot contains a dark red core and some vortex features. The wake behind it is very complex. Note the White Oval Z on the North Equatorial Belt. It looks like it has turned reddish.Image: Christopher Go

Amateur astronomers like Go make crucial contributions to the study of outer planets, monitoring Jupiter's changeable face so that professionals can learn quickly about new weather events. Go shares all of his photos on his website here. He willingly shares his photos with people who ask his permission and credit him properly.

Jupiter's belts and zones
Jupiter's belts and zones Image: © 2004 Sky & Telescope; art: Don Davis

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