FILIPINO  JOINS  HUBBLE  SPACE  TELESCOPE  TEAM

MANILA, APRIL 5, 2006
 (STAR) By Victor Badillo - Christopher Go was invited last March 21 to be a member of the Jupiter research team of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The tight schedule of activities of HST allows a limited amount of time for Jupiter. The Jupiter team is responsible for the activities for this limited period.

Go was chosen for his achievements and expertise. He will not only provide continuous imaging from Cebu but will analyze results and direct research.

Go discovered the new red spot of Jupiter last Feb. 27, and alerted the scientific community. The discovery was headlined in NASA’s website and widely reported in other media.

The Great Red Spot (GRS), discovered some 300 years ago, has been a distinctive feature of Jupiter. Now it is joined by the new red spot or Red Jr.

Red Jr. is in the South Temperate Belt, south of the GRS in the South Equatorial Belt.

The discovery was not pure luck. Go had been closely monitoring in detail the developing features of Jupiter. Earlier, in 2004, he made his first discovery, a white spot in the North Equatorial Belt. He monitored it for a few weeks and saw it enlarge and evolve into a major rift system. Sky and Telescope featured this discovery.

Scientists are eagerly studying Red Jr. since its continuing development is visible. Three white spots discovered in 1930 merged to form a white oval in 2000.

"The oval was white in November 2005, slowly turned brown in December 2005, and red a few weeks ago," reports Go. "Now it is the same color as the Great Red Spot!"

Red Jr. is now half the size of the GRS and may grow larger. The Belts of Jupiter move at different speeds. When in a short time Red Jr. and the GRS touch, spectacular results are expected.

When Go felt confident of his photos, he began posting them on the website of ALPO (Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers). The first time he submitted his images, he was accused of plagiarizing Hubble images. People could not believe the quality of his images. Undaunted, he continued perfecting imaging Jupiter. It was not until he made a sequence of Jupiter images that people gave credence to his images. He takes images in the infrared, ultraviolet, methane as well as in the visible range of the spectrum.

Another discovery of Chris Go was the exceptional imaging quality of the atmosphere of his residence in Cebu City. On a scale of 10, the quality is 8 and frequently, is 9 or 10. Elsewhere, astronomers ambition for a 6.

Astronomers set up observatories far from cities and high above the clouds. The ultimate goal was a telescope in space. This was realized in the HST.

Go became active in astronomy in 1986 when Comet Halley became visible. He was in high school then. He started with binoculars. In 1988, with a few friends, he organized the University of San Carlos Astronomical Society. In time and with dedication, he perfected his skills and gradually acquired the best equipment. He is a member of the Astronomical League of the Philippines.

Twenty years after Comet Halley cast its pale magic on young Christopher, he is now a co-principal investigator with the top 10 experts of Jupiter.

His e-mail address and website are christone@pacific.net.ph and http://astro.christone.net.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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