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An Amateur Astronomer From South Africa Spotted A New Convective Storm On Jupiter

An Amateur Astronomer From South Africa Spotted A New Convective Storm On Jupiter

Amateur astronomer Clyde foster from South Africa discovered a methane-rich convective storm on Jupiter. Coincidentally, two days later, the Juno station made its planned flyby nearby, which allowed a detailed image of the Clyde spot to be obtained, according to the NASA website.

The Juno probe explores Jupiter's atmosphere and magnetosphere and also collects information about the gas giant's internal structure. The automatic interplanetary station launched from Earth in August 2011 and reached Jupiter only by mid-2016. Initially, it was planned that the device will work until 2018, but then the mission was extended until 2021. Read more about the mission goals in our article "Juno, give me strength!" and on the NASA theme portal, you can see the regularly updated gallery of the JunoCam camera installed on-board the probe.

Clyde Foster of the Astronomical Society of the Republic of South Africa observed Jupiter in the early morning of May 31 with a telescope with a filter sensitive to the spectrum of methane radiation. It is noteworthy that the new spot was not seen by astronomers from Australia, who observed Jupiter a few hours earlier.

Confirmation of the discovery was accidentally possible thanks to the Juno station — the fact is that the device is now in a 53-day orbit and for one flight takes a fragment of Jupiter in the form of a narrow strip. Kevin M. Gill, an employee of the NASA jet propulsion Laboratory, processed images obtained by the JunoCam camera at different distances from the planet, and they really show the Clyde spot.

The spot is a convective storm, and in general, such phenomena are typical for Jupiter in this latitude — a similar spot "Juno" recorded in February 2018. It is expected that in late July, "Juno" will again fly near the Clyde spot and new images will help assess the dynamics of the storm.

Amateur astronomers often observe Jupiter and sometimes help to record events that did not fall into the lenses of observatories. In August 2019, for example, a large asteroid crashed into Jupiter — the flash was accidentally captured on video by Amateur astronomer Ethan Chappell, who lives in Texas.