Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jupiter 2011 (Retired Page)

This page was retired on this date of publication. A new page is above that reads: "Jupiter Portal."

[UPDATED for JULY] This site is great for Jovian-moon lovers, including myself! It has a whole dissertation about Jupiter this month, plus phenomena of the Jovian moons. Truly amazing! JOVIAN ECLIPSE!

[Edited 5/25] Jupiter is very beautiful at this time. To see the most current pictures, visit this site.
It will be hard to view Jupiter so close to the Sun's glare in April 2011. However, viewing conditions will improve by the end of May, and has a busy year planned! Currently (April 28th 2011) Jupiter is in conjunction with Mars, but obscured by the Sun's glare in early morning as viewed from the northern hemisphere. Jupiter is swung behind the Sun on April 6th 2011 (when the eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks) and is hard to view, but you may with binoculars.

April 30th is a key day to start viewing Jupiter again. Jupiter's not the only one hiding in the Sun's glare, so is Mercury and Mars, but all are climbing as Venus is climbing opposite: off the horizon. Venus can be seen quite clearly now, but that will pass soon. As time progresses, Jupiter will be able to see quite fairly without the help of equipment, such as telescopes or binoculars. The middle of May is best (just in time for dual-transits which begin the seventh of May). In late May, June, and July, Jupiter will be the easiest of the two (the other Venus) to locate. May 28-30 are the best times to see Jupiter. The crescent moon will visit this grand planet, looking eastward about two hours before sunrise. (Sunrise for Washington DC at this time will be about 5:45 am; get up around four). Venus will rise about one hour before Jupiter. [Below: Crescent moon above Jupiter at dawn on May 28th] [Two below, Jupiter closer together with the moon at dawn on May 29th]


Not only will Jupiter have fun during May, but also throughout the year. Until June 25th, Jovian Dual transits will occur. A Jovian transit happens when a moon transits the surface of Jupiter. A dual transit is when two moons do. It starts on the seventh of May, and ends June 25th; the Jovian moons are very busy this year. 

As the year progresses, Jupiter will be visible for at least a part of the night. Earth is orbiting rather quicker now, which means that Jupiter rises sooner every day. A conjunction occurred on April 6th (Jupiter and earth). If you looked down on our solar system, you would have seen Jupiter and the Sun and earth all in a perfectly straight line. The first of August 2011 brings Jupiter to be at western quadrature. Quadrature is being ninety degrees from the Sun in earth's sky. Again, if you could look down on our solar system, Jupiter, the Sun and earth would look like a right angle, the Sun being the center. Around west quadrature, Jupiter rises beautifully in the east around midnight and shines high up at dawn. The moon is also at western quadrature at this time! (last quarter moon). [Below: Jupiter at west quadrature, or the sky around it.] [Two below: looking down on the solar system; west quadrature is emphasized.]

One interesting fact to note, as viewed from our planet, the shadows of Jupiter and the Galilean moons "angle out at a maximum of 12 degrees westward from these worlds at west quadrature" ( For one reason, this explains the fact why at west quadrature, the shadows of dual-transits cross the planet first, than the planets themselves. "As the moons circle behind Jupiter, the moons sweep into Jupiter’s long shadow a maximum time before they swing behind the giant planet itself" ( The picture below, shows such an event.

As we end the year (looking in at October 29th 2011) Jupiter arrives at opposition: an extra-special event. The earth will pass between the Sun and Jupiter. Although a type of conjunction, Jupiter being at opposition is a rare event: happening only twice a year (at Jupiter's apogee and perigee or aphelion or perihelion). Jupiter will rise in the east at sunset and will gradually soar to its highest position in the sky at midnight and sets in the west at sunrise. This will truly be a remarkable event, a great time for pictures, so mark your calendars.

Jupiter will be in the sky from dusk to dawn on this August day. It will also shine extremely bright, so earth may seem to have a 'second sun.' Another interesting fact is that the next opposition of Jupiter will occur eleven years from now, in the year 2022. This is due to the fact of its orbit (which is very big compared to earth's), and don't wait to view this event on October 29; start watching in late April and May, where (at the end of May) it will be extremely big and bright in the morning sky. Remember, Jupiter is much closer to earth than any star you see. It is actually the fourth largest object in the night sky: the first being (of course!) the Sun, the second, the moon, and Venus is the third.

Jupiter's busy year shouldn't make you want to view it with just binoculars, but with a great telescope. Telescopes are by far much better than binoculars, but if you don't have one, binoculars will do their job as well. Have a great year with Jupiter!

What about the Jovian eclipse?

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