Tuesday, May 8, 2018


One thing most backcountry residents enjoy that their downland neighbors usually don't, is a dark sky and nightly vistas of stars and planets. Unless the moon is full, the Milky Way, our home galaxy, is ever-present. Starting tonight— if skies are clear (and they're supposed to be) our fellow planet, Jupiter, should be very visible for the next few nights.
The neat thing about Jupiter is that a good pair of binoculars is usually enough to see its globe and even pick out a couple of its moons:
From Space.com:  How to see Jupiter
Skywatchers will see Jupiter at its brightest Tuesday (May 8), when the planet is exactly opposite to the sun in our sky. Here's how to catch a glimpse of the solar system's largest planet. Jupiter will rise in the eastern sky a few hours after sunset. Then, the planet will be visible all night, shining so brightly that, weather permitting, you will be able to see it easily with the naked eye. If you have a small telescope, you should be able to see cloud bands in the gas giant's atmosphere, as well as its four largest moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and Io). The moons will appear as tiny, bright dots that change position every few hours or days. 
The technical word for Jupiter's position in the sky is "opposition," which happens when two astronomical objects are on opposite sides of the sky as seen from Earth. We generally say that a planet is "in opposition" when it is in opposition to the sun — in other words, when Jupiter rises shortly after the sun sets, or vice versa. Jupiter's closest approach to Earth will be on May 10, just a couple of days after opposition. That's because the orbits of Earth and Jupiter are not perfect circles. "If our planets' orbits were perfect circles, then yes, we'd be closest together on the date Earth passes between Jupiter and the sun. But Earth's orbit, and Jupiter's orbit, are elliptical, like circles someone sat down on," according to EarthSky.It's best to wait at least a couple of hours after sunset to look for Jupiter. The sky will be darker, and Jupiter will rise above the horizon, where Earth's air is at its thickest. Jupiter will glide across the sky all night and set at 5:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday (May 9), around sunrise in New York City.   —https://www.space.com/40515-jupiter-at-opposition.html?utm_source=notification

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