Jupiter triple moon transit

I was aware that there would be a special rare event occurring pre-dawn in UK on Saturday – the transit of three of Jupiter’s moons each casting their shadows onto the surface of Jupiter; the next time this would happen would be in 2032 (hence my friend and I thought that we better not miss it).

The forecast was for clear skies in the early hours of Saturday morning here in Oxford, UK. So I set the alarm clock for 5:20am and went to sleep. Before that, my wife told me that she would join me for that event and she asked me to wake her up for it.

The alarm rang in the morning, and so I went to peer out the window. I was so excited to see totally clear skies, with Jupiter at about 30 degrees altitude and shining brightly in the sky. As my wife was awake, she said that she would join me for this.

Jupiter in the sky
Jupiter in the sky

I went downstairs to get the equipment ready prior to setting it up on the porch/ My wife made us both a hot drink to keep us warm while we were outside. Unfortunately my main telescope mount was not usable as the view of Jupiter would be obstructed by the neighour’s outbuilding,

Hence I setup my Skywatcher ED80, Televue 2.5x/5x Powermate onto the Astrotrac TT-320X for this event on the porch. I used my Olympus E-P5 for the imaging. I initially used the 2.5x Powermate but as the image of Jupiter was very small, I decided to change to the 5x Powermate instead.

Jupiter in the sky
Jupiter in the sky

This is definitely an international event, as the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles was doing a live webcast of the event as were a few other observatories. I knew that my friend was also up in Aylesbury viewing this event with his telescope, as he had texted me that the seeing was poor at his end.

As the seeing was also fairly poor in Oxford, the images captured were not the most brilliant. But the best images were processed into .avi files with PIPP (Planetary Imaging PreProcessor) and then stacked in Registax on my PC to produce the images below. I have to say that these are the best Jupiter images I have managed to capture – although not up to the standards of the images seen on the internet, I am very pleased with them nonetheless.

Jupiter with single moon shadow
Jupiter with single moon shadow (using 2.5x Powermate)
Jupiter with 2 moon shadows to the right and one to the left
Jupiter with 2 moon shadows to the right and one to the left (using 5x Powermate) – Europa can be seen to the left of Jupiter casting its shadow to the left of Jupiter

I include here a screen-grab from the web cast of the event by Griffith Observatory, which is now on Youtube as a reference of what people saw of the event as it unfolded – they also had poor seeing which affected the images they saw.

Screen grab of Jupiter moon transit from Griffith Observatory feed
Screen grab of Jupiter moon transit from Griffith Observatory feed

I have to say that both my wife and I had a great time this morning, as it is always great to have good company for such an event. It was definitely helped by the warm mug of Milo she made for me (I’m very grateful for that). And after the event, we sat down to eat breakfast while the sun rose gradually into the sky. It has definitely been a great weekend for us both.

Boon