02/19/2015 – Ephemeris – Jupiter is beginning to take its rightful place as king of the evening sky
Ephemeris for Friday, February 19th. The Sun will rise at 7:37. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 38 minutes, setting at 6:16. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:10 tomorrow morning.
Jupiter is becoming noticeable in the evening sky in the east after 8 p.m. The heavy atmosphere near the horizon make telescopic observations difficult because the planet and its satellites will appear fuzzy and have color fringes top and bottom. Wait an hour or two for the planet to rise higher into quieter and thinner air to get the best telescopic views. Jupiter is accompanied by four moons in telescopes. Tonight they’re on one side of Jupiter, with Io closest, then Europa and Ganymede close to each other, while Callisto as usual appears to be the farthest satellite. The face of Jupiter itself is crossed by dark belts and light zones that run in the same direction as the satellites orbit. The moons change position from night to night.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
This image is shown smaller than actual size. Image expansion lately hasn’t worked. If you are using Firefox, right-click on the image, and then click on View Image.
The above image by Scott Anttila is actually much better that the image seen in small telescopes. Advances in digital photography and processing allow the stacking and averaging of many images to create better pictures by amateur astronomers with modest equipment than the best telescopes of a quarter century ago.