Jumpin' Jupiter!

Feb 6

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2/6/2015 4:41 PM  RssIcon

Jupiter is at opposition tonight - that means for those looking down (or up!) at our solar system, the Sun, Earth and Jupiter would form a straight line. But since none of us ARE looking at the solar system from that perspective, what is the practical effect for us? Well, Jupiter will rise at sunset, and set at sunrise. Check out this animated gif to see the 13 hours of Jupiter's progress across the night sky occur in about 13 seconds. Jupiter at opposition animated gif


Normally what's best about oppositions - particularly for planets like Mars - is that it means the planet is also at it's largest, due to Earth being at its closest point to the planet. But Jupiter stays above 40 arc seconds for the next two months, so there is plenty of time to see it while it is quite a large angular diameter at the eyepiece.

More importantly, and what I like about oppositions, is that it means the planet will be better placed in the evening sky for the next several months. It will rise earlier, placing it higher up sooner for better viewing. Remember to practice the tips for getting the most out of planetary viewing. And once you've had enough of the King of the Planets - and assuming you're not too cold! - check out some of the First Light Guide objects. There's 15 guides up and available right now, with more on the way soon. 

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.