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Pro-Am Planetary Observations at Pic du Midi
JRehling
post Jul 25 2017, 01:21 AM
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Recently, a collaboration of a few professional and very talented amateurs used the 1-meter telescope at Pic du Midi to produce some truly breathtaking images of Venus and the outer planets.

Background information and images at:


https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/580395-p...netary-mission/

and

http://www.europlanet-eu.org/pic-net-groun...-press-release/

One example of the way this sort of data can be utilized is the "Voyager 3" project from Sweden, which used imagery from modest telescopes to monitor Jupiter over a sustained period of time.

http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-...-3-project.html

I'd say this impacts on the topic of spaceflight to the extent that it defines the quality of imagery that can be collected on a regular basis with a telescope that is very good / large but not in the top category of size… an important distinction because the largest telescopes naturally have intense competition for their time and are used only for limited numbers of planetary images. It's conceivable that telescopes in the 1-meter class could be used to produce relatively continuous and ongoing monitoring of the planets so far as orbital positions allow. Obviously, spacecraft can always produce imagery of a significantly higher quality, but these earthbound telescopes are beginning to show the ability to approach the scientific potential of spacecraft data sets such as Cassini's imagery of Jupiter or Pioneer Venus' imagery of Venus.
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nprev
post Jul 25 2017, 04:10 AM
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I find the Ganymede shots particularly impressive...same apparent resolution as the Voyagers a day or two before the encounters. Impressive technology.


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Explorer1
post Jul 25 2017, 05:15 AM
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Saw these pics a while back, but still a mighty result!

Would Io's plumes be at all plausible to resolve? I know Hubble caught them (along with Europa's plume), but its time is obviously much more limited...
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climber
post Jul 25 2017, 05:38 AM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Jul 25 2017, 07:15 AM) *
Saw these pics a while back, but still a mighty result!

Would Io's plumes be at all plausible to resolve? I know Hubble caught them (along with Europa's plume), but its time is obviously much more limited...

A while back? We're talking of june 10th this year for the one Nicolas is talking about...
Also very impressed by Ganymede details.
A bit of topic: I can see the 1m cupola telescope of Pic du Midi from my home place...70km "a vol d'oiseau"...


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JRehling
post Jul 25 2017, 12:25 PM
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Io's plumes would perhaps be resolvable in visible light, barely, along the limb, but probably the easiest way to resolve them would be in IR, where the thermal radiation makes them stand out very clearly, and the time when they rise/set past the limbs can give you a very precise indication of their longitude, in combination with the fact that the sources don't move (very often, anyway).

Note: earthbound telescopes are utterly incapable of measuring thermal IR in the range of earthlike temperatures, because the air and telescope itself produce an overwhelming amount of noise, but for temperatures on a par with magma or even the surface of Venus, it is quite possible.

So, in a nutshell, yes, Io's volcanic activity could be monitored longterm with equipment on Earth, with gaps in coverage only where Jupiter is in solar conjunction for a fraction of the year. And it has been done:

https://www.space.com/34485-jupiter-moon-io...from-earth.html
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JRehling
post Jul 25 2017, 12:27 PM
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QUOTE (climber @ Jul 24 2017, 10:38 PM) *
A bit of topic: I can see the 1m cupola telescope of Pic du Midi from my home place...70km "a vol d'oiseau"...


Then it can certainly see you!

That's very cool. I sometimes see the Lick Observatory from nearby San Jose, but I have yet to drive up for a visit.
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