Stargazers won't want to miss Jupiter this week

Apr 08, 2017, 07:21
Stargazers won't want to miss Jupiter this week

In the current evening sky, you might say that the queen has abdicated and the king has taken her place.

Throughout the night, Jupiter will arc high in the sky. When the Sun rises in the east, the planet Jupiter will set in west. The planet will "only" be 416 million miles away, closer than any other time of the year. Opposition also marks Jupiter's closest point to us, and the planet appears brighter in the night sky than at any other time in the year.

With its 67 (!) moons, Jupiter is kind of like a mini solar system inside our own. Hubble was able to capture surface features that are just 80 miles across.

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And right now, the big planet is shining at an impressive magnitude of minus 2.5.

Take note that Jupiter glows with a steady, silvery-white light, whereas blue-white Sirius seems to scintillate.

Jupiter is at its closest point to Earth, and the Hubble Space Telescope took advantage of this proximity to snap some marvelous portraits. Depending on Jupiter's position with respect to the Earth, it might vary in visual magnitude while in conjunction with the Sun. These unprocessed photos were made available for amateur astronomers to process, giving them the chance to turn the blurry, gray images of the gas giant into colorful photos. However, Venus will only shine for a short while Friday night before sunrise while Jupiter stays out all night long. They are the four largest of Jupiter's 67 known moons - Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. This famous storm is larger than Earth. After midnight, look to the west to find it shining bright. As they circle around Jupiter in paths turned almost edgewise to the Earth, they appear to swing back and forth, keeping always almost in line.

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"The final image shows a sharp view of Jupiter and reveals a wealth of features in its dense atmosphere", NASA and the ESA, which cooperate on the Hubble project, said in a statement.

"Jupiter is at his best and brightest, as well as at his closest distance to us", Chester wrote. It really is visible towards the naked eye at night sky and can occasionally be seen within the daytime when the Sun is lower. "On Sunday, after 30 minutes of sunset, if one can look in the eastern direction opposite to the direction of sunset, Jupiter can be spotted", he said. The trio of objects will fit within a binocular field of view and make a nice photo opportunity.

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