System of Basic Terminology and Nomenclature

Like most sciences, planetary astronomy comprises a language of special terms and nomenclature. Understanding those associated with Jupiter will facilitate our discussions and explanations, since this scientific shorthand can actually help to keep our discussions simple and unambiguous. Years ago, A.L.P.O. Jupiter Section Coordinator Phil Budine suggested a simple, straightforward system that we can still use today. There are abbreviations for the terms and nomenclature of dark and bright features, and for the belts and zones; so, some of the more common terms and abbreviations are shown in Tables 2.2 and 2.3. Various dark and bright features can be seen in the belts and zones at any given time. Some of the features most often seen are illustrated in Table 2.4. These illustrations are modeled after illustrations used by past A.L.P.O. Jupiter Recorder Phillip Budine.

A simple example can help us understand how we put this terminology into use. Figure 2.2 shows a large condensation, or barge, on the north edge of the north equatorial belt. This feature would be described as, 'Dc L cond N edge NEB'; which literally means 'dark center, large condensation, north edge, north equatorial belt.' So, you see how in simple, straightforward notation we have completely described the feature and where it resides. If we were describing a bright feature we would use the designation 'W', instead of 'D'. Later, when we discuss central meridian transit timings, you will see how we combine this description with the longitudinal position of the feature to turn this kind of observation into real, meaningful data.

As we will see in Sect. II of this book, your observations are only valuable if they are properly recorded and notated. The system of nomenclature presented here should allow anyone to accomplish this task. Organizations such as The Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (A.L.P.O.) and the British Astronomical Association (BAA) have standard observing forms that the observer can use to record observations. Many other organizations around the world also have standardized forms. Standardized observations greatly facilitate the gathering

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