Jupiter on April 29, 2019
The King of the Gods has Returned
It has been several months since Jupiter has been well placed in the sky for observing.
The wait is over. For the next few months, Jupiter hangs bright in the night sky. It is a joy
to observe. On a good night there is almost too much detail in its clouds to capture in a
drawing. And it is always changing. Even in my 2.4-inch f/15 refractor the bands in its
atmosphere are obvious. The white zones are massive atmospheric upwellings that
result in the formation of white clouds of frozen ammonia. The reddish-brown belts are
downward movements of the atmosphere where the ammonia has evaporated exposing
the darker atmospheric colors of mostly phosphorus, sulfur and carbon compounds.
This morning was not the best sky conditions for observing Jupiter, but Jupiter is so large
that super-high-power is not needed for an enjoyable view. In the 6-inch refractor the
off-white of the Equatorial Zone was somewhat darker than usual, and the South-Equatorial
Belt was distinctly thinner than the North-Equatorial Belt (remember in the drawing that
South is up, and North is down).
Jupiter will fill many hours of my time during its 2019 opposition. The King of the Gods’
complex clouds will result in many drawings to come.