Monday, September 8, 2008

ID Jupiter

Our Moon points out Jupiter on the evening of September 9.

The gibbous Moon lies just below the bright planet in our early evening sky. Look at Jupiter through binoculars. If you hold them steady, just to Jupiter's right are four dim objects, all in a row. The planet's glare may prevent you from seeing all of them, but the one farther to the right should be visible. These are Jupiter's four largest moons. The one to the far right is Callisto. The other three proceeding towards the planet are Europa, Io, and Ganymede. Ganymede is the solar system's largest moon — larger than the planet Mercury. If you look on the following night, the moon will have rearranged themselves as they orbit the giant planet.

Such is our view from Earth ...


Anonymous said...

Very pleased to have found your blog this evening from Richmond. My 5 year old - very interested in stars, planets and the evening sky this summer - enthusiastically spotted something in the early evening sky tonight. It has been fantastic to learn that we're looking at Jupiter! We've enjoyed a great pre-bedtime sky viewing with the kids...and can now add Jupiter to our list of planet sightings for the summer. Thanks for the great info!

Curious Skywatcher said...

Thank you for your comments! You may like to follow Venus and Jupiter over the next two months.

On October 2, the thin crescent Moon hovers just above the western horizon and to the left of Venus. On the 6th, the Moon moves underneath Jupiter.

Venus moves toward Jupiter until about December 1 when they make a bright pair in the western sky. It should be eye-catching enough that non-skywatchers will comment.

By the way, the Richmond area has a great amateur astronomy club, the Richmond Astronomical Society. You may like attending one of their meetings or public events.