IOPW - Atmosphere Discipline: Archive of Past Alerts & News

This page contains an historical of past alerts and news related with observations of the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn.

Neptune's bright spot
30 July 2015: Neptune observations of professional and amateur telescopes show a bright feature in the planet.A bright feature in the planet was found in 13th July 2015 in observations from the 2.2m telescope at Calar Alto (Spain). Later observationsby amateur observers (Marc Delcroix, Wilhem Kivits and John Sussenbach) using long pass red filters found thesame feature in observations obtained in 20th July. Later observations with the Keck telescope confirm the survival and vigour of this feature at least upto 24th July. Experienced amateurs are requested to try to image this particular feature in the farthest giant planet. Ephemerids from the observationson the three different date show a drift rate of 24.26║/day consistent with known eptune winds at the position of the bright spot (-41║).

Banded structure and several other features have also been visible in amateur observations of the other side of the planet showing a very interesting Neptune apparition this year.In fact, a second bright feature in the northern hemisphere at latitude +20deg, close to the North limb, is now confirmed to have been observed also on amateur data. Other visible features are under study.

  • Ephemerids of Neptune bright spots (updated 7 August 2015)

  • Saturn North Polar Activity
    27 May 2015: Saturn observations of several amateur astronomers, notably from Darryl Pfitzner Millika, Anthony Wesley, Christopher Go and Trevor Barry,show the development of an ondulating perturbation in Saturn at planetocentric latitude of +58.5 deg North (63.5 planetographic).The perturbation appears as a large dark spot in the highest resolution observations and as a rift in several observations over the last few days.This type of activity is unusual and the large size of the perturbation (approximately 5,000 km or 8deg in longitude) makes its observationpossible to many observers, even to those located in the North hemisphere where Saturn remains low at its highest elevation.Update observations of the evolution of this feature are requested. Observers in the South hemisphere have also been succesfull in observingseveral small-scale spots in Saturn's disk. Ephemerids of this feature computed by Arrate Antu˝ano and Marc Delcroix after analysis of the observations follow.

  • Ephemerids of Saturn Northern perturbation (updated 15 June 2015)
  • Ephemerids of Saturn Northern perturbation (computed 27 May 2015)

  • JUNO Support from the amateur community
    12 March 2015: Juno is a NASA mission to Jupiter that will arrive to the giant planet in the Summer of 2016 to explore its interior through remote sensing. Among its instruments, JunoCam is its visual camera that will observe the planet from highly elliptic orbits. For the first phase of JunoCam, the JunoCam team has asked the collaboration of amateur astronomers.

    Collaboration with the JunoCam team is organized in the following webpage: where amateurs will be able to upload their images for science planning of JunoCam observations. The PVOL database will work to support JunoCam and changes in the PVOL webpage will be occurring over the next few months.
    Donald C. Parker's Obituary
    23 Feb. 2015: It is with a great sadness that we knew Donald C. Parker, passed away in Miami, Florida yesterday. Don was an amateur astronomer deeply admired by amateurs and professionals alike. He inspired more than a generation of planetary observers and participated in professional research in many different studies of Solar System planets, especially Mars. The quality of his work and the huge number of observations that he obtained made him collaborate with many research groups publishing in professional journals and coauthoring books on astronomical observation. Don lectured for many years on planetary astronomy and imaging. He continued to observe the planets and posted his last images of Jupiter not long ago. He will be missed greatly. We all send our condolences to his family.

    You can read an obituary in Sky & Telescope written by Sean Walker remembering Don's achievements and his role in amateur astronomy.
    Donald C. Parker, 1939-2015

    6 November 2014: Uranus and Neptune: Bright Spots and amateur support for Kepler light-curves Uranus and Neptune have been displaying interesting activity in the last months with bright spots followed by different amateur astronomers in both planets. Uranus observations by professional observatories have been triggered from observations of a bright spot since August first observed in Keck images of Uranus but later followed by several amateurs. Neptune's current activity has only been followed by amateur astronomers but observing programs for Neptune have beeen requested in professional telescopes.

    In the next few months the Kepler space telescope (initially the most succesfull exoplanet discoverer, now used to run different research projects) will look at Uranus and Neptune for a long period of time to study oscillation modes of both planets that will help to understand their inner structure. Kepler's Neptune observations will start 14 November 2014 and run until 2 March 2015. Dr. Heidi Hammel from the Space Science Institute, requests to the amateur community images of Neptune in optical or near-IR images that will be used in interpreting the light curves produced by Kepler over this period.

    30 September 2014: Jupiter satelite events during this Jupiter apparition

    John Rogers from the British Astronomical Association reminds to interested observers that mutual phenomena between Jupiter's moons are beginning in this current Jupiter observing season with plenty of events to observe. A report has been published in the British Astronomical Association journal. Full sets of predictions by Jean Meeus have been posted by the BAA Computing Section at: Accurate predictions are also available at the IMCCE website. During the last edge-on apparition, in 2009, some observers managed to obtain the first resolved time-lapse videos of mutual phenomena, that were collected on a web site by Marc Delcroix from the Societe Astronomique de France. French astronomers have taken the lead in the coordination of the observing program, called PHEMU2015. Details for interested astronomers are provided in English and French at:

    The observation of these events provides valuable scientific data and is possible with a small telescope. However, in order to be scientifically useful, the observations must be performed carefully following precise instructions as given on the upper websites. Observers who can do precise high-speed photometry are invited to contribute to that programme. Those who obtain resolved videos are asked to send them to Marc Delcroix (delcroix.marc AT to be posted on his web site. The BAA Jupiter Section will be pleased to receive copies of these results or web links to them, as well as snapshot images or visual observations by BAA members. PVOL will also be pleased to receive copies of processed images or video animations of the mutual phenomena.

    14 April 2014: Support for HST images of Jupiter later this month

    This is a request on behalf of John Rogers, Amy Simon-Miller, Glenn S. Orton and Imke de Pater. The Hubble Space Telescope will observe Jupiter on April 21 to study the Great Red Spot area which has srhunk significantly in the last year with a smaller rotation period. A possible interaction with the recent activity of the STBn will also be investigated. To provide a longer context for these observations, tracking the STBn jet spots and possibly detecting the GRS circulation over a longer interval, it will be important to obtain good-quality amateur images of the region from now until April 26, and especially on every rotation from April 18 till April 22. This is a request to the amateur community to continue observing Jupiter during these days even if the conditions are not as good as you would usually want.

    20 February 2013: Outbreaks in the NTB
    Recent outbreaks of bright spots in the NTB have grown in size similarly to the initial states of the 2007 NTB outbreaks that resulted in a full disturbance of the NTB. This compact set of bright features is located at approximately +29.5 deg planetographic latitude and longitude 5 deg in system III. Observations in the methane absorbing filter could show the convective activity of these features. You can see the features in a recent image by Christopher Go from 19th February 2014. Activity in the same area is easily distinguished in previous images back from 12th February with a set of cyclonic features.
    30 October 2013:
    John Rogers from the British Astronomical Association has compiled a set of beautiful pictures of the recent triple shadow transit (Oct.12) and double transits of galilean moons on other dates.

    Neptune bright spot

    9 September 2013:

    A few amateurs have obtained images of Neptune that show a bright spot in the planet. This is the first time such a feature is clearly observed with amateur equipment. Images from Paul B. Jones (see image), Paul Maxson (image) and Peter Gorczyinsky (image), among others, consistently show this feature. However, more observations are required to study the brightness variation of this feature and its drift rate.

    Marc Delcroix has provided measurements of the spot at about 10 deg longitude and 45 deg S planetographic latitude. Images of that position are strongly requested to the amateur community and may lead to higher resolution observations with professional telescopes. Although observing Neptune could prove challenging it is a good occasion to break the distance limit in Solar system images.

    Updated predictions (10 sept. 2013), computed by Marc Delcroix taking into account several spots measures and the corresponding drift rate are:
    WinJUPOS 10.0.19 (Neptune), C.M. transit times, 2013/09/08 23:29
    Object longitude: L = 21,7░ - 0,5745░/d * (T - 2013 Aug 27,5)
    Time interval: 2013 Sep 08,0 ... 2013 Oct 01,0
    Output format: Date UT (C.M. of System 1)
    2013 Sep 08 06:21 ( 15░) 22:27 ( 15░)
    2013 Sep 09 14:32 ( 14░)
    2013 Sep 10 06:38 ( 14░) 22:43 ( 13░)
    2013 Sep 11 14:49 ( 13░)
    2013 Sep 12 06:55 ( 13░) 23:00 ( 12░)
    2013 Sep 13 15:06 ( 12░)
    2013 Sep 14 07:11 ( 11░) 23:17 ( 11░)
    2013 Sep 15 15:22 ( 11░)
    2013 Sep 16 07:28 ( 10░) 23:33 ( 10░)
    2013 Sep 17 15:39 ( 10░)
    2013 Sep 18 07:44 ( 9░) 23:50 ( 9░)
    2013 Sep 19 15:56 ( 9░)
    2013 Sep 20 08:01 ( 8░)
    2013 Sep 21 00:07 ( 8░) 16:12 ( 7░)
    2013 Sep 22 08:18 ( 7░)
    2013 Sep 23 00:23 ( 6░) 16:29 ( 6░)
    2013 Sep 24 08:34 ( 6░)
    2013 Sep 25 00:40 ( 5░) 16:46 ( 5░)
    2013 Sep 26 08:51 ( 4░)
    2013 Sep 27 00:57 ( 4░) 17:02 ( 4░)
    2013 Sep 28 09:08 ( 3░)
    2013 Sep 29 01:13 ( 3░) 17:19 ( 3░)
    2013 Sep 30 09:25 ( 2░)
    Good Neptune observations!

    Jupiter 2013 apparition

    September 2013:

    John Rogers from the British Astronomical Association has compiled a few notes summarizing the state of Jupiter at the start of 2013/2014 apparition.

    The planet looks generally normal with a reappeared NNTB. NN-LRS-1 is still a large reddish oval, at L2 = 177.
    The NTB, following last year?s revival, is in a typical state with a N component of narrow grey streaks, and a S component bland and pale orange.
    The NEB has returned to a normal width, with some dark barges along its N edge, and some typical large dark formations on its S edge.
    The SEB is normal, and the usual ?rifting? f. the GRS is extensive and active.
    The GRS is still strongly orange and isolated, indicating a lack of incoming SEBs disturbances.
    The STB comprises a single long dark segment, f. oval BA, to be discussed below.
    The nine long-lived SSTB white ovals are all still present.

    Saturn's North Polar Hexagon

    February 2013: As Jupiter is getting further away from the Earth and closer to the Sun Saturn images are becoming more and more favorable. Images of Saturn from Australia obtained by Darryl Pfitzner Milika with Patricia Nicholas and Trevor Barry show the North Polar Region with enough detail to see the enigmatic atmospheric hexagon. The scientific context of why this is important is well described in this post by Leigh N. Fletcher from Oxford University. The hexagon also appears in a few images obtained over 2012 when polar projected and constitutes an interesting imaging target for amateurs as a challenge and for the science that can be obtained from it.

    According to this, and as suggested by users like Trevor Barry, the IOPW-PVOL web now allows to perform searches of polar projections and cylindrical maps of both Jupiter and Saturn. Use "Tools" --> "Search PVOL images" --> and fill the Filter box with polar or map keywords for these searches. We are currently updating the latest polar and map projections to this search engine.

    Impacts detection campaign

    13 December, 2012: Important updates in the two softwares available for systematic surveys of impacts. Check out the Jovian impacts software webpage

    October 2012: As we approach Jupiter opposition in December, 2nd, more and more observers are getting high-resolution observations of the giant planet. The recent September 10th, impact of a small object in Jupiter shows that such detections can be performed by the large community of amateur astronomers. Two software packages able to automatically analyze video observations of Jupiter to detect jovian impacts are available through the link in the upper right part of this webpage or through this link. Note that the sofware can be used with current video observations of the planet or analyzing past observations. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

    Saturn images obtained from several IOPW contributors appear in two papers in the journal Nature

    7th July 2011: Saturn observations obtained by several contributors to the IOPW and ALPO Japan websites have been vital pieces of information for unveiling the physics and behaviour of Saturn's Great White Spot, a large-scale storm which originated in December 5th 2010 and continues active six months later. Images by several amateur observers appear in two papers leaded by Dr. Agustin Sanchez-Lavega and Dr. Georg Fischer showing the importance of continuous observations of the Giant planets and the wealth of collaborations possible between the amateur and professional astronomical communities. This research appears in the cover of the journal nature. We gratefull acknowledge the hard work done and the quality of the observations obtained by the amateur community.


    Recent outbreaks and bright spots in the revived NEB (report at the BAA)

    30th October 2012: John H. Rogers from the British Astronomical Association reports on the current events on Jupiter.

    See the full report on this link: 2012 October 30th Report BAA

    The report includes information about the new barges and ovals in the NEB, and the GRS with Oval BA passing it. The 'rifts' in the NEB have continued to develop; Freddy Williams, Christopher Go and Manos Kardasis each pointed out a new brilliant white spot in a rift on Oct.27-28. Outside the rifts, the turbulence is subsiding and the NTropZ is clearing again. Meanwhile, two of the large anticyclonic ovals are rapidly approaching each other now, and should be monitored closely over the next week or two. They are clearly seen in Tomio Akutsu's images on Oct.26, and a compilation showing their convergence is attached. They are WSB (at L2=73) and WSA (at L2=93; still dull grey), converging at ~1 deg/day. Moreover, a smaller white spot (arrowed) is prograding even more rapidly, approaching WSA, and must be in conjunction with it as of now. If WSA and WSB then continue to converge unchanged they could interact from Nov. 1.

    NEB and NTB activity and revivals

    September 2012: John H. Rogers from the British Astronomical Association reports on the current events on Jupiter.

    The NEB is indeed undergoing a full-scale revival for the first time since 1926, and the NTB is indeed reviving via a super-fast jet-stream outbreak as last seen in 2007. See a longer report on: Jupiter Reports on the BAA.

    A fireball in Jupiter

    10th September 2012: Dan Petersen, an amateur observer, reports about a bright fireball in Jupiter. The event happened this morning on 10th September 2012 at 11:35:30 UT and lasted about two seconds. A video recording of the impact was obtained by George Hall and a nice short report is now available in the Sky & Telescope webpage. Many observers obtained images of the same region in the next and following rotations without finding any trace the object could have left on Jupiter's atmosphere indicating a small size of the impact body.

    NEB and NTB activity and revivals

    September 2012: John H. Rogers from the British Astronomical Association reports on the current events on Jupiter.
    The NEB is indeed undergoing a full-scale revival for the first time since 1926, and the NTB is indeed reviving via a super-fast jet-stream outbreak as last seen in 2007. See a longer report on: Jupiter Reports on the BAA.

    GRS and BA interaction

    September 2012:Conjunction between the GRS and BA is happening over September. Observers can get good images of the large anticyclones interaction that will allow to study the physics of large-scale vortices in Jupiter's atmosphere.

    Possible Jupiter's NTB Disturbance

    6th June 2012: Manos Kardasis has obtained one of the first Jupiter images of this season showing an altered state of the NTB that could be representative of a full NTB Distubance. Jupiter is now at 17 degrees from the Sun and, although still a difficult target at this early Jupiter season, observations are requested to characterize the state of the atmosphere. 25th April 2012: John H. Rogers, Jupiter Section Director from the British Astronomical Association alerts:

    Manos Kardasis has just obtained a Jupiter image from April 19 (see the image in this link) noting a very dark spot on the NTBs, with a bright spot preceding it. This is very likely a new outbreak on the super-fast NTBs jet-stream. Confirmation is urgently needed! There was nothing there in his image of this longitude on April 12, nor in the few other images (by H. Einaga and L. Zielke). Obviously Jupiter is now too close to the Sun for good-quality imaging but if anyone can get any images of these longitudes, even in daylight, or can send images from recent days, please do so.

    On April 19, the bright spot was at approx. L1 =77 (L3 = 337). If on the super-fast jet, it should move with DL1 ~ -5 deg/day (DL3 ~ -13 deg/day); so on April 26 it should be around L1 ~ 42 (L3 ~ 246). The dark streak should by now cover tens of degrees followed by the bright spot. Similar spots might also appear at other longitudes. An outbreak this year has been expected as explained on the following report.

    Observers are urged to follow the planet as closely as possible before and after solar conjunction.

    Saturn's New Storm outbreak

    12th April 2011: Images from Anthony Wesley, Trevor Barry and Christopher Go show the development of a new storm system in Saturn
    A new storm feature has been developing in Saturn since early April and now is captured in images by many observers. The RPWS instrument onboard Cassini reports SED discharges linked to this new feature. Apparently the convective active area is located northwards to the Saturn's ribbon. Preliminary position of the current storm is: 311 System III, at a planetographic latitude of 59 degrees (NNTZ). This renewed activity is similar to storms observed in the previous years in the storm alley but now on a different latitude. Storms like this in this latitude have been observed only a few times in historic times and this is the first one observed in the NNTZ since Cassini arrived at Saturn.

    10th April 2012: Jupiter's New NEB outbreak
    John H. Rogers, Jupiter Section Director from the British Astronomical Association alerts:
    A striking new outbreak of bright and dark spots has occurred in Jupiter's North Equatorial Belt (NEB) over March 2012 and early April. This renewed activity is likely to develop to an even larger scale, eventually bringing to an end the recent quiescence and narrowing of the belt. Observers are urged to follow the planet as closely as possible before and after solar conjunction.
    More information provided by John H. Rogers is available on the following report (word doc file) and a summary is available in the following figure.

    21 January 2012: Galilean satelites: Transits and occultations
    Journal Astronomy announces a close view of Jupiter and its four bright moons clustered closely around the planet. Europa will transit the jovian disk starting at 21:30 UTC and Io and Ganymede will be eclipsed by the planet at 21:40 UTC. Transits and eclipses will finish at around 23:55 UTC. Times are only approximative as calculated from the NASA Solar System Simulator. Later next week there will be an eclipse of Io and Europa by Jupiter on 23th January 2012. More details and accurate time of the events will be provided later this week.

    29 November 2011: Jupiter Stellar occultation SAO92734
    Silvia Kowolik alerts that on Nov. 29, Jupiter will occult the 8.7 mag Star (K2) SAO 92734. Observers with telescopes larger then 8" may be able to capture the star on its reappearance around 18:30 UT+/- 20 minutes. Recommended filters are those that make Jupiter appear dark while the star is bright. Methane band and/or U filters should be able to show the star appearing while not saturating the planet disk.

    26 October 2011: A large size and bright feature on Uranus observed with the Gemini telescope

    Latest update: The bright feature seem to have dimmed in contrast and is probably not observable with telescopes available to the amateur community being observable only with telescopes with apertures of 1 m or larger.

    Original post: Larry Sromovsky from the Univesity of Madison Wisconsin alerts that a very bright feature has appeared on Uranus. Detailed observations from the Gemini 8 m telescope show this feature at least 3 times brighter than the background of Uranus disk. If this is a convectively driven white feature it may evolve to larger size and brighter appearance on the next few days. Images from amateurs are essential to study this feature and precise its drift rate towards a possible observation with other highly-demanded telescopes (such as HST).

    If you want to observe a distinct cloud feature on Uranus this is probably a very good opportunity to do it. Uranus subtends 3.7'' and the bright cloud feature is at least 0.33'' making this feature accesible to relatively modest equipments. You can check the Gemini raw image and a preliminar proccessed version here. This image was provided by Larry Sromovsky and Patrick Fry and it includes a photometric cut of the CCD image showing the contrast of the bright feature. The image was acquired on 26th October at 08:06UT. The same spot was present in previous observations run at Pic du Midi on 12th October and mid-august.

    Dr. Sromovsky has provided updated (9th November) ephemerids for transits over the central meridian based on observations obtained by Gemini, Pic du Midi and other telescopes.
    2011 10 26  10:21:07      10.0
    2011 10 27   3:33:01       9.0
    2011 10 27  20:44:38       8.1
    2011 10 28  13:56:15       7.2
    2011 10 29   7:08:09       6.2
    2011 10 30   0:19:46       5.3
    2011 10 30  17:31:23       4.4
    2011 10 31  10:43:18       3.4
    2011 11  1   3:54:55       2.5
    2011 11  1  21:06:31       1.6
    2011 11  2  14:18:26       0.6
    2011 11  3   7:30:03     359.7
    2011 11  4   0:41:57     358.8
    2011 11  4  17:53:34     357.8
    2011 11  5  11:05:11     356.9
    2011 11  6   4:17:05     356.0
    2011 11  6  21:28:42     355.0
    2011 11  7  14:40:19     354.1
    2011 11  8   7:52:13     353.2
    2011 11  9   1:03:50     352.2
    2011 11  9  18:15:27     351.3
    2011 11 10  11:27:21     350.4
    2011 11 11   4:38:58     349.4
    2011 11 11  21:50:52     348.5
    2011 11 12  15:02:29     347.6
    2011 11 13   8:14:06     346.6
    2011 11 14   1:26:00     345.7
    2011 11 14  18:37:37     344.8
    2011 11 15  11:49:14     343.8
    2011 11 16   5:01:08     342.9
    2011 11 16  22:12:45     342.0
    2011 11 17  15:24:22     341.0
    2011 11 18   8:36:17     340.1
    2011 11 19   1:47:53     339.2
    2011 11 19  18:59:30     338.2
    2011 11 20  12:11:25     337.3
    2011 11 21   5:23:02     336.4
    2011 11 21  22:34:39     335.4
    2011 11 22  15:46:34     334.5
    2011 11 23   8:58:11     333.6
    2011 11 24   2:10:05     332.6
    2011 11 24  19:21:42     331.7
    2011 11 25  12:33:19     330.8
    2011 11 26   5:45:13     329.8
    2011 11 26  22:56:50     328.9
    2011 11 27  16:08:27     328.0
    2011 11 28   9:20:21     327.0
    2011 11 29   2:31:58     326.1
    2011 11 29  19:43:35     325.2
    2011 11 30  12:55:29     324.2
    2011 12  1   6:07:06     323.3
    2011 12  1  23:18:43     322.4
    2011 12  2  16:30:37     321.4
    2011 12  3   9:42:14     320.5
    2011 12  4   2:54:08     319.6
    2011 12  4  20:05:45     318.6
    2011 12  5  13:17:22     317.7
    2011 12  6   6:29:16     316.8
    2011 12  6  23:40:53     315.8
    2011 12  7  16:52:30     314.9
    2011 12  8  10:04:24     314.0
    2011 12  9   3:16:01     313.0
    2011 12  9  20:27:38     312.1
    2011 12 10  13:39:32     311.2
    2011 12 11   6:51:09     310.2
    2011 12 12   0:03:03     309.3
    2011 12 12  17:14:40     308.4
    2011 12 13  10:26:17     307.4
    2011 12 14   3:38:13     306.5
    2011 12 14  20:49:50     305.6
    2011 12 15  14:01:27     304.6
    2011 12 16   7:13:21     303.7
    2011 12 17   0:24:58     302.8
    2011 12 17  17:36:35     301.8
    2011 12 18  10:48:29     300.9
    2011 12 19   4:00:06     300.0
    2011 12 19  21:11:43     299.0
    2011 12 20  14:23:37     298.1
    2011 12 21   7:35:14     297.2
    2011 12 22   0:46:51     296.2
    2011 12 22  17:58:45     295.3
    2011 12 23  11:10:22     294.4
    2011 12 24   4:22:16     293.4
    2011 12 24  21:33:53     292.5
    2011 12 25  14:45:30     291.6
    2011 12 26   7:57:24     290.6
    2011 12 27   1:09:01     289.7
    2011 12 27  18:20:38     288.8
    2011 12 28  11:32:32     287.8
    2011 12 29   4:44:09     286.9
    2011 12 29  21:55:46     286.0
    2011 12 30  15:07:40     285.0
    2011 12 31   8:19:17     284.1
    Ephemerids for previous transits over the central meridian are available in this file and can be used to look for the spot in Uranus images from July-December.
    If you get observations of this feature you can send them to this database and also to:
    Dr. Larry Sromovsky (larry_dot_sromovsky_at_ssec_dot_wisc_dot_edu).

    October 2011: Jupiter opposition on 29th October. Opportunity to measure Jupiter winds with amateur images

    Jupiter approaches its opposition offering the best opportunities for imaging this planet. The planet will reach an equatorial diameter of 49.7'' which will result in a new opportunity to obtain magnificent views of the giant planet. We are collecting images from this season close to the opposition to perform a systematic study of Jupiter winds using image correlation techniques. A couple of years ago these kind of studies could only rely on images obtained from spacecrafts or the Hubble Space Telescope but now it is possible to make the same study with the outstanding images provided by you.

    Images separated by one or two planetary rotations will be systematically studied to measure the atmospheric winds at cloud level. We need high-quality observations obtained from different longitudes over the Earth (Europe, North America, Australia and East Asia) to be able to observe the same cloud features consecutively after one-two Jupiter rotations.

    Saturn's North-Tropical Storm continues to be active more than 6 months after its onset on December 2010

    June 2011: The activity of the storm seems to have increased lately and we encourage all active observers to continue providing observations of Saturn as long as it continues to be observable.

    Large-scale North Tropical Storm in Saturn

    10 December 2010: A large storm in the Northern hemisphere is developing in Saturn and has acquired a size comparable to historical White Spots extending more than 10.000 km in Saturn's atmosphere. Images by Sadegh Ghomizadeh and Teruaki Kumamori showed the storm on December 8th and 9th as a developing unusually bright storm. The storm continues to grow since then. It is the first storm appearing in the northern hemisphere at least since the arrival of Cassini to the Saturn system in 2004. Storms much smaller than this have been developing regularly on the Southern hemisphere on the storm alley but with the new Saturn seasons after the equinox convection seems to have started on the north mid-latitudes. Observations of this storm will be very usefull to study the changing seasons in Saturn.

    The storm is located at 38 deg North (planetographic latitude).

    Next transits of the storm by the central meridian (UT) (updated 5th January)
    DATE          UT       UT       UT      
    05/01/2011    03:26    14:07	
    06/01/2011    00:49    11:30	22:11
    07/01/2011    08:52    19:33	
    08/01/2011    06:15    16:56	
    09/01/2011    03:37    14:18	
    10/01/2011    01:00    11:41	22:22
    11/01/2011    09:03    19:45	
    12/01/2011    06:26    17:07	
    13/01/2011    03:48    14:29	
    14/01/2011    01:11    11:52	22:33
    15/01/2011    09:14    19:56	
    16/01/2011    06:37    17:18	
    17/01/2011    03:59    14:40	
    18/01/2011    01:22    12:03	22:44
    19/01/2011    09:25    20:07	
    20/01/2011    06:48    17:29	
    21/01/2011    04:10    14:52	
    22/01/2011    01:33    12:14	22:55
    23/01/2011    09:36    20:18	
    24/01/2011    06:59    17:40	
    25/01/2011    04:21    15:03	
    26/01/2011    01:44    12:25	23:06
    27/01/2011    09:47    20:29	
    28/01/2011    07:10    17:51	
    29/01/2011    04:32    15:14	
    30/01/2011    01:55    12:36	23:17
    31/01/2011    09:59    20:40	

    Disturbance in Jupiter's SEB

    12 November 2010: A disturbance is developing in the SEB with an outbreak of a giant storm first imaged in November 9 by Christopher Go and Donald Parker. The disturbance is growing and a lot of activity is developing in Jupiter that will possibly lead to a revival of the SEB and the end of the Fade state. In this outbreak an unprecedent survey of Jupiter is being obtained by amateurs all over the world. These observations will allow to obtain the best time-resolved evolution of this phenomena. If you are an amateur fond of observing Jupiter please consider sending your observations to our database by writing an e-mail to:

    Another optical flash in Jupiter

    20 August 2010: Amateur astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa reports another optical flash in Jupiter. The optical flash was observed from Kumamoto city, Japan and it appeared on the NEBn (L2 = 140, lat. 21 deg.N), at Aug 20, 18h22m UT and was observable for approximate 2 seconds. This flash is similar to the one observed in June, 3rd by Anthony Wesley and Christopher Go. A survey of observations by different amateurs after the optical flash do not show any presence of an impact debris in Jupiter atmosphere. The video data is available from different web pages and blogs.

    Stormy season on Saturn

    April-June 2010: The storm alley in Saturn's tropical south latitudes is showing an outburst of storm activity. Images from different observers show an active storm system from early march and active at least till May 15th. A selection of images and ephemeris for the observation of this storm have been compiled by Marc Delcroix from the Societe Astronomique Francaise. Images obtained by the Cassini spacecraft show lightning activity in this storm and electrostatic discharges associated with the lightning.

    Saturn Northern hemisphere storm

    10 December 2010: A large storm in the Northern hemisphere is developing in Saturn and has acquired a size comparable to historical White Spots extending more than 10.000 km in Saturn's atmosphere. Images by Sadegh Ghomizadeh and Teruaki Kumamori showed the storm on December 8th and 9th as a developing unusually bright storm. The storm continues to grow since then. It is the first storm appearing in the northern hemisphere at least since the arrival of Cassini to the Saturn system in 2004. Storms much smaller than this have been developing regularly on the Southern hemisphere on the storm alley but with the new Saturn seasons after the equinox convection seems to have started on the north mid-latitudes. Observations of this storm will be very usefull to study the changing seasons in Saturn.

    The storm is located at 38 deg North (planetographic latitude) and System III longitude 260 deg.

    Next transits of the storm by the central meridian (UT) (updated 18 december)
    DATE          UT          DATE          UT          DATE           UT
    2010/12/18   08:00    |   2010/12/23   05:30    |   2010/12/28    03:05
    2010/12/18   18:40    |   2010/12/23   16:15    |   2010/12/28    13:45
    2010/12/19   05:20    |   2010/12/24   02:55    |   2010/12/29    00:30
    2010/12/19   16:00    |   2010/12/24   13:25    |   2010/12/29    11:10
    2010/12/20   02:45    |   2010/12/25   00:15    |   2010/12/29    21:50
    2010/12/20   13:25    |   2010/12/25   10:55    |   2010/12/30    08:35
    2010/12/21   00:05    |   2010/12/25   21:40    |   2010/12/30    19:15
    2010/12/21   10:45    |   2010/12/26   08:20    |   2010/12/31    05:55
    2010/12/21   21:25    |   2010/12/26   19:05    |   2010/12/31    16:35
    2010/12/22   08:10    |   2010/12/27   05:45
    2010/12/22   18:50    |   2010/12/27   16:25
    If you are observing Saturn please consider sending your observations to our database by writing an e-mail to:



    2008 and before

  • IOPW images in a paper in the cover of the Nature issue of January 24, 2008.
    The mistery of Jupiter jets begins to unveil.  Click here for more info. 
  • IJW operations transferred from New Mexico State University to the Universidad del Pais Vasco
    Starting on November 3th 2004, the Jupiter images repository of the IJW is held 
    in the hosts of the Universidad del Pais Vasco, as all the other planets images.
    Submission of images by contributors must be addressed to the IOPW-atmospheres 
    e-mail address (