JUNO needs amateurs!

In 2016, a major event in the Solar system exploration is going to take place: the arrival of a new space proble around Jupiter : JUNO. This should take place during the summer of 2016 and it will be the first since the Galileo orbiter (1996-2003). Scientists ask amateurs for their contribution to the study…


Why amateur images?

In the context of the revival of pro/am cooperation in planetary studies, amateur data is important from several points of view:

1) To prepare the job of the probe before its arrival, in order to identify what interesting structures must be followed in first place. Jupiter is indeed a planet that must observed on a long-term basis, and despite its high resolution, Juno will have to fit into this long-running history.
2) Helping to “context” the orbiter images, that will be in a too narrow angle of view for this job.
3) To contribute to the fine study of structures, by imaging them when they are out of view from Juno cameras.

How to participate?

By taking images as usual, from various filters if possible. Images will be uploaded on the following webpage:

JUNO Planning

To my eyes there are two interesting features to note:
junoWJen1) Contributors can help scientists to save time of analisis by using a new functionality of WinJupos, called the “Transmission package”. The idea is to upload the image in the software and making a measurement of it (Recording>Image measurement), and thereafter to go to the “Misc” onglet and to click on “Create transmission package”). This will save the useful parameters of the image. Refer to the side illustration.
2) It is possible as well to send non processed images (stacked, but not wavelet-processed). This is easy to do under WinJupos by making first a measurement of a completely processed issue of the image, and then re-uploading the non-processed version under the same parameters.

Some further help

A help file in PDF is available on the Juno website
And you can as well read the oral intervention of Marc Delcroix and Glenn Orton (from JPL) made during the 2015 EPSC in Nantes: How amateurs can support the JUNO mission


Meteorological conditions at AstroQueyras (3): the onset of good conditions

After the mediocre to fair nights described in (1) and (2), here are my observations during the next two following nights (August 31th to September 1st and 1st to 2nd). Those two nights have been somewhat cloudy, but with a much better seeing. Meteorological conditions had changed too !
During […] Continue Reading…


Meteorological conditions at AstroQueyras (2): a strange wind at night

After a general review of the AstroQueyras observatory context, here are some of my notes related to the observed weather and night sky quality during my stay. On the first two nights (August 29/30 and 30/31) the  sky was clear but seeing was quite mediocre. I have note a particular […] Continue Reading…


Meteorological conditions at AstroQueyras (1): the context

AstroQueyras is an observatory located at an altitude of 2930 meters in the deep french Alpes mountains, very close to the italian border. It welcomes one-week amateur missions as well as one-night public stays. It’s equiped with a 620 mm F/15 Cassegrain, a 500 mm F/8 Ritchey-Chrétien and a 200 mm […] Continue Reading…


The Martian terminator “plumes” in Nature magazine

During the 2012 and 2014 apparitions of mars, we talked a lot about a very curious detail imaged by several amateurs: an object projected beyond the terminator, that could only be at a very high altitude. Seven scientists and six amateurs co-sign this month a paper about it in […] Continue Reading…


Some better conditions on Jupiter, why ?

In my last article Jupiter under the jet-stream, what’s the result? I described the effect of one the worst meteorological conditions for the seeing. During my last observing night of January 17th, images were noticeably better (although still not really good…). It is possible to find explanations?

Here are some Jupiter images […] Continue Reading…


Jupiter under the jet-stream, what’s the result?

Last year I made a summary on the best conditions for a good seeing. Unfortunately there are as well other conditions that damage it. Here is a “good” example on Jupiter: the influence of the jet-stream.

What is the jetstream?

The jet-stream is a very narrow, but very fast, stream of […] Continue Reading…


Prepare for the elongations of Venus in 2015: talk at RCE

Last week-end I gave a talk at the Rencontres du Ciel et de l’Espace (RCE) at Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, about Venus. The planet will be easily observable for northern amateurs in 2015, do not miss it!
In 2015, we will see two nice venusian elongations […] Continue Reading…


Different ways of using colors for imaging planets

The concept of color is often discussed among observers. The purpose of this article is not to debate about the concept of realism, but to describe and discuss the use of three ways to use color for planetary images : “true” colors, “false” colors, and colorized monochrome images…

The three […] Continue Reading…


The reference article about pro/am cooperation in planetary astronomy

Participating to scientific work when you’re an amateur observer, is that possible? Answer is yes! I have talked about it on several occasions on this blog, and here is a must-read on the topic if you’d like to get into that.

The adventure started two years ago during the “4th pro-am […] Continue Reading…