Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 11 - Jupiter loses one of its belts‏

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Jupiter loses one of its belts

Jupiter and its system of belts and zones. The Red Spot is a hurricane-strength storm that's been present on the planet for at least the past few hundred years. Credit: NASA

Sunday morning when Jupiter and the moon came up together in the east I was tempted to remain outside with the birds and growing light and observe the planet, but it had been a long night and I desperately needed sleep. As the sun continues to move away from Jupiter, the planet will rise higher and in time become more conveniently placed for viewing. Still, intrepid sky watchers with small telescopes may want to consider making an early morning pilgrimage to the king of the planets to see for themselves how it's gotten something of a makeover.

Last winter changes were already underway as the South Equatorial Belt, one of the two most prominent dark "stripes" on the planet, began to fade. Most years you look at Jupiter and besides the four little moons lined up on one side or another of the planet, you'll see two prominent dark grey bands, the north and south equatorial belts. These and Jupiter's other belts are separated by lighter-colored zones giving it a striped appearance. Both belts and zones are composed of ammonia ice crystals which freeze out at 108 degrees below zero, a temperature easily attainable at Jupiter's half-billion mile distance from the sun. Materials like sulfur and phosphorus mixed in with the ammonia are believed responsible for creating the clouds' curious red, brown and yellow tints.
Watch Jupiter rotate and its cloud belts move with the winds. The time-lapse video was made using images shot during Voyager 1's flyby of the planet in 1979.
The origin of all these belts and zones comes from deep below the planet. Bubbles of warmer air rise to the upper atmosphere and condense into clouds where they're are blown into alternating bands by 350+ mile per hour winds. Jupiter's rapid rotation is at the source of its ferocious winds -- a day on the planet whisks by in just 9.9 hours. This speedy spin coupled with Jupiter's gaseous nature is also the reason the planet is flattened like a squashed meatball instead of being more nearly spherical.

Look at the dramatic change in the planet from less than a year ago. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) has faded away leaving just the north belt (NEB) viewable in small telescopes. Credit: Anthony Wesley

So here's the surprise. That bad boy south equatorial belt (SEB) has completely faded away. Point your scope at the planet any morning soon and you'll see only one obvious dark stripe, the North Equatorial Belt. Jupiter with only one belt is almost like seeing Saturn when its rings are edge-on and invisible for a time -- it just doesn't look right.
The SEB is one of the most active areas on the planet for weather changes. Every 3-15 years, the belt, which is normally dark reddish-brown in color and typically divided in two by the south equatorial belt zone, fades from view. After some weeks or months a brilliant white spot forms within that zone and begins spouting dark blobs of material which get stretched into filaments and ovals by Jupiter's fierce winds into a new SEB. Within a few weeks (or longer) the belt is back and Jupiter presents its familiar dual "tire track" appearance through a telescope.

When the South Equatorial Belt fades, the Great Red Spot, here seen at the planet's left edge, usually becomes darker and more prominent. Credit: Anthony Wesley

The phenomenon goes by the name of the South Equatorial Belt Disturbance, and the changes are dramatic enough to see their evolution night by night. That's why I'd like to urge you to set the alarm and take a look at Jupiter in the next few weeks. Later this season, when the planet grows a new face, you'll be able to appreciate how quickly a celestial object like a planet can change. It's part of the reason amateur astronomers observe them as often as they can much to their wives' amusement.

To find Jupiter, go out about an hour before sunrise and look a fist or two above the horizon in the east-southeastern sky. It's the only bright "star" you'll see there.

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



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