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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).

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 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.