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Friday, 26 November 2010

[Baa-ebulletin 00530] Jupiter: The SEB Revival is beginning

BAA electronic bulletin

BAA e-bulletin, 2010 Nov.10

Jupiter: The SEB Revival is beginning

A spectacular bright plume has appeared in Jupiter's faded South Equatorial Belt (SEB), and is expected to become the source of spectacular disturbances leading to revival of the belt. The small bright spot was discovered by Christopher Go (Philippines) in an image which he took on Nov.9 at 12:30 UT. He announced it immediately by e-mail, and it was confirmed 11-12 hours later by Donald C. Parker (Florida, USA) and Gary Walker (Georgia, USA), when it was already brighter.

Don Parker's images included infrared, ultraviolet, and 0.89 micron (methane) bands, and the new spot was amazingly bright in all of them, showing it to be a convective plume of cloud reaching to very high altitude. Indeed it was already visible in a methane-band image taken in poor seeing by A. Yamazaki (Japan) on Nov.9 at 14:14 UT. On its third rotation, Nov.10 from 09:00 UT onwards, images by many Japanese observers and by C. Go and T. Akutsu (Philippines) confirm that it is the brightest spot on the planet in all wavebands. Its longitude is L2 = 290 (L3 = 149). (The Great Red Spot is at L2 = 159.)

This plume has appeared inside a cyclonic circulation, called 'barge B2', which had been very dark a year ago, but turned white in 2010 May-June. (Details are in our reports:)
and [Figure 11].
Thus the former barge already comprised a white spot, but it was not methane-bright (up to Nov.7: Chris Go). It was still quiet on Nov.8 (Sadegh Ghomizadeh, Iran). So the much brighter plume was new on Nov.9. We had already suggested that the SEB Revival might begin with such a plume in one of the barges, as it did in 2007; the event is a striking confirmation of this hypothesis.

This rapidly brightening plume is so energetic that we can confidently expect it to develop into the SEB Revival. The SEB Revival is usually spectacular, so we can expect impressive and rapidly changing disturbances over the next 3 months, until the end of the apparition. As the SEB is so thoroughly whitened, and the outbreak has appeared in an isolated location, we can hope to see the phenomena displayed in their most complete form. Normally, disturbances continue to arise at the same source, and spread out in three branches: northern and central branches, prograding, and a southern branch, rapidly retrograding. If they develop as usual, both the central and southern branches could impact on the Great Red Spot in January. Observers should monitor all aspects of the spreading disturbances, but also monitor other longitudes, as a secondary source might also appear. Observers have the chance to make this the best-observed SEB Revival ever.

John Rogers
Jupiter Section Director
- jhr11 at -
2010 Nov.10

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Good Clear Skies
Colin James Watling

Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)

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