Welcome to the Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory. This site hosts the online and public image database of observations of the Giant Planets obtained by small telescopes. PVOL depends on the Atmospheres Node of the International Outer Planets Watch (IOPW) which is aimed to encourage the observations and study of the atmospheres of the Giant Planets. The PVOL-IOPW database contains more than 15,500 image observations of Jupiter and Saturn in the visible range with a few contributions of Uranus and Neptune.
This site has been developed by the Grupo de Ciencias Planetarias (GCP, Planetary Sciences Group) Please send your Jupiter/Saturn/Uranus & Neptune observations by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or the website administrator: email@example.com. If you are a regular contributor please consider registering yourself and uploading your images personally to the database (write an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance and registering the first time).
Technical paper: The International Outer Planets Watch Atmospheres node database of giant-planet images, R. Hueso et al., PSS, 58, 2010.
Shorter document describing the database (EPSC-DPS 2011 abstract). Documentos en Español: Articulo enfocado a astronomos amateurs: Pequeños telescopios al estudio de los planetas gigantes, J. Legarreta y R. Hueso, Astronomia, 137, 2010.
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.
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 Nature7th 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.
Deep winds beneath Saturn's upper clouds from a seasonal long-lived planetary-scale storm. A. Sanchez-Lavega et al. Nature 475, 71-75 (7 July 2011).
A Giant thunderstorm in Saturn. G. Fischer et al. Nature 475, 75-77 (7th July 2011).
Server upgrade (17th January 2011) We have upgraded the PVOL server to a new and more powerful server to encompass the growth of the database.