10 Feb 2016

When to see Jupiter's Great Red Spot

THE GIANT PLANET Jupiter comes to opposition on 8 March, and is a splendid sight in the dawn sky.
At Mag -2.4 it cannot be mistaken as it lies below the main body of Leo, the celestial Lion. It's equatorial diameter is 40 arc seconds so even a small telescope will show the horizontal cloud bands, while binoculars are all that is need to show the 4 Galilean moons.
The most famous feature is the Great Red Spot which can be viewed in a 15 Cm (6 inch) reflector, although larger telescopes will show it clearer. It lies in the southern edge of the South Equatorial Belt.
Jupiter rotates quickly in about 9 hours 50 minutes so the Red Spot, which is located at 240 degrees longitude, transits over the central meridian twice every Jovian day.
Here are the times that the Great Red Spot can be seen on the planet's meridian from three observer stations around the Earth. All times are U.T.
Please bare in mind that an astronomical telescope turns the view of Jupiter upside-down so look for the red spot on the upper equatorial belt. Please click on the images to enlarge.
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