[1]  New activity in Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt  (report, 2006 Jan.11)

As Jupiter gets higher in the pre-dawn sky, observers will be interested to know that a new mid-SEB outbreak of white spots has started, the first since autumn, 2003. 

It was discovered and tracked by Hideo Einaga (Japan), and his images were placed on the ALPO-Japan web site: http://www.kk-system.co.jp/Alpo/Latest/Jupiter.htm

A selection of these images is presented below:

(Thanks to our Japanese colleagues for providing them.)

Einaga first imaged the new outbreak as a single bright white spot on Dec.18.  It was probably no more than a few days old on that date.  Since then it has produced more white spots, spreading to lower longitude, as is typical.  The source and f. end is at L2 = 350.

There was already a similar outbreak at lower longitude, which had greatly extended the mid-SEB disturbance that follows the GRS; these outbreaks f. the GRS occur about once a year.  According to images on the ALPO-Japan web site, this one started during solar conjunction and had its f. end near L2 = 180 (Dec.9, T. Olivetti in Thailand), now extending to L2 = 195 (Dec.24 and Jan.8, Einaga).

These outbreaks may continue for weeks or months.  They should be visible even with modest telescopes, and could be spectacular at high resolution .  The white spots in them are clusters of thunderstorms.  Observations are encouraged. 

John Rogers

2006 Jan.11