Jupiter appearing flashy - red on top, blue bottom

  • #1
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Summary:
Been noticing something in night sky flashy with red and blue. Identified as Jupiter; any explanation for the flashy colors?
Jupiter.jpg


Been noticing this for a few evenings; didn't know it was Jupiter until this evening using https://stellarium-web.org/ (image from this evening).
Has been distinctly flashy more than other objects with a slight red flash at the top and a blue flash close to the bottom. Last night I looked with binoculars and confirmed the flashiness and the colors.
Stellarium indicates four moons are near or within the subtended angle of Jupiter's disc. Wonder if position(s) of Jupiter's moon(s) might be the cause - refraction? diffraction? dispersion? lateral chromatic aberration (from the source)?
 

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  • #2
Drakkith
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Wonder if position(s) of Jupiter's moon(s) might be the cause
I doubt it. I don't think their brightness and angular separation from Jupiter are large enough to cause this.

Has been distinctly flashy more than other objects with a slight red flash at the top and a blue flash close to the bottom.
Planets don't typically experience this sort of optical phenomenon, as they have a much larger angular diameter than stars do, so I'm not sure what could be causing it. Perhaps an exceptionally turbulent atmosphere?
 
  • #3
anorlunda
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Might you be seeing aurora on Jupiter?
1628939070449.png
 
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  • #5
Drakkith
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Might you be seeing aurora on Jupiter?
With the naked eye? I find that extremely unlikely. I think you'd be hard pressed to see an aurora on Jupiter even through a telescope. Probably comparable to trying to see an aurora here on Earth during the daytime.
 
  • #7
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I just looked now, naked eye and binoculars.
With naked eye there is a red dot at the top of the disc that appears and disappears every few seconds with a general flashiness near the bottom of the disc.
With binoculars, the general flashiness looks more green than blue, the red dot is easy to see.
May I ask that people take a look, naked eye and with equipment, to at least confirm and maybe better describe what is seen?
 
  • #8
davenn
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I just looked now, naked eye and binoculars.
With naked eye there is a red dot at the top of the disc that appears and disappears every few seconds with a general flashiness near the bottom of the disc.
With binoculars, the general flashiness looks more green than blue, the red dot is easy to see.
May I ask that people take a look, naked eye and with equipment, to at least confirm and maybe better describe what is seen?

You really sure it's Jupiter ?
Planets dont scintillate but stars do

where in the world are you and what direction are you looking
and I will see if I can spot it on my astronomy program
 
  • #9
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That is why I am asking... Jupiter is much more flashy than any other objects. The colors are particularly of interest.
I am in Houston. Early posts were from early evening looking SSW. The last post was from pre-dawn looking NNW.
Spotting it on a program to confirm it's Jupiter would be good. Take a look when you get a chance to describe the color features, please.
 
  • #10
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I am in Houston. Early posts were from early evening looking SSW. The last post was from pre-dawn looking NNW.
That doesn't sound like it's the same object.
 
  • #11
Drakkith
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That is why I am asking... Jupiter is much more flashy than any other objects. The colors are particularly of interest.
I am in Houston. Early posts were from early evening looking SSW. The last post was from pre-dawn looking NNW.
Spotting it on a program to confirm it's Jupiter would be good. Take a look when you get a chance to describe the color features, please.
If your directions are correct, then that cannot be Jupiter. Jupiter is in the southwest in the early morning and the southeast in the early evening.
 
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  • #12
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And by the same token, it can't be any single astronomical object. If it's near Jupiter in the morning, it can't be on the other side of the sky by evening.
 
  • #13
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Airplane navigation lights are red and green, and anti-collision lights flash red.
 
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  • #14
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Stellarium right now, my local time 11:21 AM with the Sun up in the sky (I just checked) is indicating the time is 21:12 PM and showing the Sun under the horizon... with the location indicated "near Houston".
So yes, likely not Jupiter. Thanks everyone so far, would like to figure out what it is.
 
  • #15
DaveC426913
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I would bet money that what the OP is seeing is the planetary equivalent of scintillation (twinkling).

Planets are not immune to atmospheric distortion; it's just that they will jiggle in place, rather than point-to-point.

And the red/blue makes sense too, when you consider the differing refractivity of red and blue light.

I'll bet even more that, were one to train a scope on ol' Jupe, you would still see it jumping up and down, flashing red and blue.

1629046725649.png
 
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  • #16
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  • #17
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Looks like Stellarium finds my location automatically but does not use that to fix the time. I just corrected the time and reloaded the web page... the time reverted back to 21:05 PM and showed a night sky.
I will correct the time to sidereal time this evening and see if I can correctly identify the object.
 
  • #19
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After determining sidereal time, I realize Stellarium is automatically showing correct sidereal time for my location, but is still showing a night sky with the Sun under the horizon.
May have to find a different sky application.
 
  • #20
davenn
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May have to find a different sky application.

there's nothing wrong with Stellarium is you have time and location set properly
 
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  • #21
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I would bet money that what the OP is seeing is the planetary equivalent of scintillation (twinkling).

Planets are not immune to atmospheric distortion; it's just that they will jiggle in place, rather than point-to-point.

And the red/blue makes sense too, when you consider the differing refractivity of red and blue light.

I'll bet even more that, were one to train a scope on ol' Jupe, you would still see it jumping up and down, flashing red and blue.

View attachment 287572
This is absolutely the right answer: Refraction plus scintillation on a bright object that is low to the sky.
 
  • #22
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Refraction plus scintillation on a bright object that is low to the sky.
Or two different bright objects.
 
  • #23
DaveC426913
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Or two different bright objects.
...something something multiplying entities unnecessarily.. something...:wink:
 
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  • #24
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...something something multiplying entities unnecessarily.. something...

Nonsense. Jupiter was not where he claimed it to be. See upthread.
 
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  • #25
russ_watters
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Or two different bright objects.

[separate post]

Nonsense. Jupiter was not where he claimed it to be. See upthread.
That's not an answer to the OP's question. The OP wasn't asking what object he was looking at, he was asking why it was flashing red and blue.
 

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