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Welcome to the new PVOL

PVOL stands for Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory and is a searchable database of ground-based observations of solar system planets. The images are made available by amateur astronomers and are used for research purposes by several professional and amateur teams and for astronomy popularization. The current PVOL2.0 service is a modernized version of the previous PVOL server. PVOL2 hosts all previous data and amateur images of all Solar System planets and major satellites. PVOL has been redesigned to include new functionalities and a clearer layout.

Acknowledgement: We sincerely acknowledge the generosity of the large community of amateur astronomers in making their observations of solar system planets available to the scientific community and the general public. This project is part of VESPA (Virtual European Solar and Planetary Access), which is part of Europlanet 2020 RI. Europlanet 2020 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654208.

How to navigate through the website

The top menu will guide you to different sections of the website. Try Search data to find data. Submit your images by e-mail to: pvol@ehu.eus.

Latest, relevant news

Saturn observations requested by Cassini


The Cassini mission: Imaging Sub-System (ISS), Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) and Visible-Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) will be getting very high-resolution observations soon (2017 April 26) during the spacecraft’s initial “dive” between the planet and the inner rings. The ISS images will have a very restricted coverage of the atmosphere, so observations from the Earth are being solicited by Dr. Linda Spilker, Cassini Chief Scientist and the different instrument teams. Best times for observations will be ffrom UTC 07:48:11 to 12:22:11 but any close in time observations will be very useful.
  • ISS captures high resolution WAC images of the upper atmosphere as its field of view skims across the North Pole towards the equator, outlining what is affectionately called “the noodle.” The main target of the noodle is north equatorial latitudes from about 20 deg North (when the camera reaches around 500m/pix resolution) to about -8 deg South (where Saturn is shadowed by the rings). CIRS will get 2km resolution, about 20x higher resolution then limb sounding and perhaps 100x higher than previous nadir observations. VIMS will be able to get about 50x better pixel resolution than our previous best images. During the HGA-to-Ram pointed time, ISS observes the best resolution of about 200 m/pixel (10x better than previous images), looking for small convective clouds for the clouds revealing the waves in Saturn's atmosphere. Those clouds and waves may indicate deep thunderstorms in the atmosphere.

Message sent by Dr. Glenn S. Orton (JPL/NASA) on behalf of Dr. Linda Spilker (Cassini Chief Scientist).

Intense changes in Jupiter's long lived North Tropical Oval (WZ)


The Jupiter outbreak in the North Temperate Belt (NTB) that started in October 2016 has severely modified the aspect of the long lived North Tropical Oval called WZ. This oval formed from the merger of two other smaller ovals in 2012 (one of them present since 2008), and has experienced interesting color changes from white to red and back to white during its history.

Observations obtained at the Pic Du Midi on November 2 show the latest images of this oval at the time of its interaction with the outbreak in the North Temperate Belt. The latest maps of the planet from January 30 compiled by Marco Vedovado shows this feature with low contrast and is only apparent in the higher resolution images. The oval, is still present in the atmosphere with a different coloration, cloud morphology and size as this image from Phil Miles shows. We urge continuous observations in particular in blue, violet and ultraviolet and in the 890nm methane absorption band to characterize its color and constraint the altitude of the remains of this oval.

Jupiter: Outbreak in the SEB


Jupiter observations by Phil Miles show the development of a convective outbreak within Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt (SEB). The SEB is currently in a "non-Fade" stage. This source has erupted on a "whitish" spot according to previous images by Tiziano Olivetti on December 23. The convective source is at B" -16º and 301º (III). It is important to track its evolution, i. e. if it develops into a planetary-scale disturbance or if it is just dispersed by the horizontal wind shear.

2017-01-07: A first report of this activity is now available at the BAA thanks to John Rogers:


Juno perijoves


Dr. Glenn Orton from the Juno mission has provided the following list of Juno perijoves. Amateur observations closely before and after these dates will be very useful to the scientists on Juno.

Dates of Juno Perijoves

Juno exits safe mode


NASA’s Juno spacecraft has exited from safe mode on October 26 and is back on work. The next perijove will be on December 11. See this in NASA's press release on the status of Juno.

Information sent by Dr. Glenn S. Orton: Juno is currently in 53.5-day orbits around Jupiter. Next peijoves will be on: 2016 Dec 11, 2017 Feb 2, Mar 27, May 18, Jul 10, Sep 2 and Oct 25. Note that solar conjunction is on Oct 26. There is a +-24-hour uncertainty on orbits for March and later, but this will be refined in the next few days.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered safe mode Tuesday, Oct. 18. This implies that no Jupiter observations were obtained during the perijove planned for that day later on. More information.

Jupiter outbreak in the NTB


John Rogers from the British Astronomical Association has compiled a first report on the current activity on Jupiter. The report is posted on the BAA Jupiter Section web pages at: https://www.britastro.org/node/8102

JUPITER ALERT: Eruption in the North Temperate Belt


Jupiter observations obtained this morning in the IRTF by Glenn Orton show the outbreak of two bright plumes in the North Temperate Belt of the planet. This is a very important event known as a North Temperate Belt Disturbance (NTBD). The NTBD is a planetary-scale disturbance that has erupted in the peak of the strong eastward jet (150 to 180 m/s), similar to the one observed in 2007 and published in a paper in Nature in 2008.

See the images in Glenn Orton's facebook page.

After an urgent analysis, the two plumes are located at the following positions and will quickly evolve over the next few days.

Plume 1: Longitude: 82.9 III - Latitude (centric) = 21.8 N

Plume 2: Longitude: 114.3 III - Latitude (centric) = 21.8 N

We encourage observations of Jupiter even in its present close position to the Sun. Images of the plumes will allow to constrain one rare and very important event in Jupiter. Juno is in safe mode and could not observe these features in its close passage of the planet today but hopefully will be observing again in its next close pass over the planet.

Search by drift rate now available


Due to a suggestion from longtime PVOL user Marc Delcroix (Societe Astronomique de France) we have added an option to search by drift rate.

You can check the extra information here.

PVOL2.0 online


PVOL2 is a modernized version of the Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory (PVOL), a database of amateur observations of Solar System planets. The new service hosts amateur images of all Solar System planets with new functionalities. Please consider also collaborating with some of the projects appearing in External links like Alpo Japan, the Juno mission or the Akatsuki mission.

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