New publications about Jupiter from pro-am collaborations


Three papers have been published recently in which amateur observers and/or the BAA Jupiter Section collaborated with professional planetary scientists to unveil new aspects of Jupiter’s atmospheric phenomena.  They are:


(1) P. Iñurrigarro et al., ‘Observations and numerical modelling of a convective disturbance in a large-scale cyclone in Jupiter’s South Temperate Belt’,  Icarus volume 336, no.113475 (2020).

The paper is freely available until mid-December, at:

The paper describes the STB Ghost, a long-lived structure that we tracked, and its vigorous transformation in 2018.  It also reports numerical simulations with an atmospheric circulation model to reproduce the phenomenology observed, concluding that vigorous moist convection from water clouds initiated the transformation.  The paper also references our account of the same phenomena at:


(2) F. Tabataba-Vakili et al., ‘Long-term tracking of circumpolar cyclones on Jupiter from polar observations with JunoCam’,  Icarus vol.335, no.113405 (2020 Jan.1).

These polygonal clusters of cyclones were discovered by the JunoCam and JIRAM teams, and the paper reports their structures and their internal wind speeds as measured over the first few perijoves, and the maintenance of the polygonal patterns over two years with only minor changes.  It will be freely available for a few more days at:

Data from the early perijoves has been posted on this site at:


(3)  I. de Pater et al., ‘First ALMA millimeter wavelength maps of Jupiter, with a multi-wavelength study of convection’  Astronomical Journal (2019).

This paper presents the first maps of Jupiter in the mm waveband, which detects thermal emission from deep in the planet modulated by ammonia absorption. In particular, these observations indicate ammonia upwelling in the mid-SEB outbreak in 2016-17, and more broadly in association with the upheaval of the NTB and NEB around the same time. The data suggest that plumes rise up well above the ammonia cloud deck, and that descending air may dry the neighboring belts even more than in quiescent times.  A summary is given in a press release at:

The British Astronomical Association supports amateur astronomers around the UK and the rest of the world. Find out more about the BAA or join us.