By Dave Fuller on 2/20/2013 9:53 PM

For the next few days, Jupiter is passing by a 6.8 magnitude star.  Jupiter's four Galilean moons are all around magnitude 6, so there will appear to be an "extra" slightly dimmer "moon" as the planet slips by the star.  Of course, the star will be easy to spot - it will be the point that twinkles, and it will be slightly "out of line" with the plane of the Galilean moons, but that doesn't mean it won't be fun to imagine a "fifth moon bright enough to see" near Jove.  

Here's how that will look on the 20th - look now through the 24th, and if you are able to watch each night, you'll even be able to see the motion of the planet as it moves relative to the much-further-off star, that is 167 light years away.  

And a thought: The light from that star left the same year that astronomers first discovered and saw the planet Neptune... in 1846.

Jupiter and moons passing by 6.8 magnitude star this week

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.