Home > Ephemeris Program, Jupiter, Observing > 01/29/2015 – Ephemeris – The first thing noticed about Jupiter in a telescope

01/29/2015 – Ephemeris – The first thing noticed about Jupiter in a telescope

January 29, 2015

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 29th.  The sun will rise at 8:05.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 41 minutes, setting at 5:46.   The moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 4:33 tomorrow morning.

If it’s clear tonight dress up warmly and take the telescope out to look Jupiter.  Jupiter is the brightest star-like object out tonight.  It outshines Sirius the brightest night-time star lower in the sky and to its right.  Jupiter, being the largest planet most of the time is the biggest planet in the telescope,  It’s only challenger is Venus for a couple of months when its closest to us.  The first thing one notices about Jupiter in a telescope is that it has companions, up to 4, strung out on either side of the planet.  Those are the four moons or satellites discovered by Galileo in 1610.  They will shift position from night to night and even as you watch.  They can hide behind Jupiter or in its shadow or in front of the planet.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Jupiter's path

Jupiter’s retrograde path against the stars between Cancer and Leo October 2014 to July 2015. Created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts).  Click to enlarge.

Jupiter and moons

Jupiter and its four Galilean moons. The planet has to be over exposed to pick up the moons. But the eye can handle the brightness difference with no problem. This is one of my old pictures back in the days of film.

Jupiter eclipse

Jupiter with a solar eclipse in progress as Ganymede, lower left, casts its shadow on Jupiter on November 14, 2011. Credit: Scott Anttila.

Check out the Great Red Spot (GRS) above Ganymede’s shadow.  It’s not really red.  When I first aimed my telescope toward Jupiter back in the late 1950’s the GRS was indeed very red.  Nowadays the GRS is very hard to find.

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