1 Departamento Física Aplicada I, Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU, ETS Ingeniería, Alameda Urquijo s/n, 48013 Bilbao, Spain
2 Unidad Asociada Grupo Ciencias Planetarias UPV/EHU-IAA (CSIC), 48013 Bilbao, Spain
3 Departamento Física Aplicada I, Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU, EUITI, Alameda Urquijo s/n, 48013 Bilbao, Spain
4 Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Ephémérides, Observatoire de Paris, UMR 8028 CNRS, 77 av. Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
5 S2P – Station de Planétologie des Pyrénées, 65200 La Mongie, France
6 British Astronomical Association, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1JODU, UK
Received: 31 January 2013
Accepted: 10 April 2013
Context. The general circulation of Jupiter’s atmosphere at cloud level is dominated by a system of zonal jets that alternate in direction with latitude. The winds, measured in high-resolution images obtained by different space missions and the Hubble Space Telescope, are overall stable in their latitude location with small changes in intensity at particular jets. However, the atmosphere experiences repetitive changes in the albedo of particular belts and zones that are subject to large-scale intense disturbances that may locally influence the profile.
Aims. The lack of high-resolution images has not allowed the wind system to be studied with the regularity required to assess its stability with respect to these major changes or to other types of variations (e.g., seasonality). To amend that, we present a study of the zonal wind profile of Jupiter using images acquired around the 2011 opposition by a network of observers operating small-size telescopes with apertures in the range 0.20−1 m.
Methods. Using an automatic correlation technique, we demonstrate the capability to extract the mean zonal winds in observing periods close to the opposition. A broad collaboration with skilled amateur astronomers opens the possibility to regularly study short- and long-term changes in the jets of Jupiter.
Results. We compare the 2011 Jovian wind profile to those previously obtained. The winds did not experience significant short-term changes over 2011 but show noteworthy variations at particular latitudes when compared with wind profiles from previous years. Most of these variations are related to major changes in the cloud morphology of the planet, in particular at 7° N where an intense eastward jet varies around 40 ms-1 in its intensity according to the development or not of the “dark projection” features, confirming previous results.
Key words: planets and satellites: atmospheres / techniques: image processing / telescopes
Tables 2 and 3 are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
Table 3 is also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/554/A74
International Outer Planet Watch (IOPW) Team, http://www.pvol.ehu.es/
© ESO, 2013