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Jupiter Near the Moon (January 15, 2014)

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Evening sky on Wednesday January 15 looking north-east  as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 pm ACDST in South Australia. The inset shows the view of Jupiter through a telescope at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is just past opposition (January 6th), and is the brightest object in the sky (aside from the Moon).

It is now visible all night long, rising around 7:30 pm local daylight saving time. It is highest just after midnight.

Despite being the brightest object in the sky (aside from the Moon), it might not be easy to locate Jupiter if you are not already familiar with the sky. However, on the evening of January 15, Jupiter is just a handspn to the left of the nearly Full Moon.

So all you need to do is face north-north east and locate the Moon, the bright object immediately to the left of it by around a handspan is Jupiter. Note the time, adn the direction you are facing (and the stars nearby), and you will be able to locate Jupiter over the coming nights when the Moon has moved away.

If you have binoculars, Jupiter’s Moons will look quite nice (see image above) although there will be no eclipses or transits (unlike on the 18th, when there will be some nice events). Even in small telescopes, Jupiter,s cloud bands can be seen. Watching the changing face of Jupiter and its Moons over several nights can be very rewarding.

So why not go and have a look tomorrow night?


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