Europlanet Telescope Network issues 1st Alert – A new north polar spot in Saturn
On 30th March 2020, amateur astronomer Andy Casely from Australia obtained images of the planet Saturn that showed the presence of a white spot at Saturn’s North polar latitudes, just on the edge of the famous Saturn’s hexagon.
An observational alert was released through the PVOL data service provided by Europlanet 20204 Research Infrastructure (RI) and the HST-Jupiter e-mail list, both followed by many amateur astronomers and planetary scientists.
Since then, the spot has been observed several times allowing its scientific study. This bright spot has developed two years after the eruption of several convective storms in Saturn at the same latitude (Sánchez-Lavega et al., Nature Astronomy, 2020) and the new possible storm is a surprise that shows the importance of amateur observations in the monitoring of the atmospheres of the planets and in the discovery of new phenomenon.
The Europlanet 2024 RI’s new Europlanet Telescope Network will work continuously in cooperation with amateur astronomers to provide an observational alert for unexpected astronomical events that could be followed quickly through a world-class collaboration.