Home > Ephemeris Program, Jupiter > 03/07/2016 – Ephemeris – Jupiter officially becomes an evening planet tomorrow, celebrating with a double transit of its moons.

03/07/2016 – Ephemeris – Jupiter officially becomes an evening planet tomorrow, celebrating with a double transit of its moons.

March 7, 2016

Ephemeris for Monday, March 7th.  The Sun will rise at 7:08.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 6:39.   The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 6:49 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow is a busy day astronomically speaking,  Tomorrow night our time there will be a solar eclipse on the other side of the Earth that will be covered by NASA-TV.  I’ll talk more about it tomorrow.  However in the early morning hours Jupiter will reach opposition from the Sun tomorrow at 4:58 a.m.  At opposition the Earth is placed almost directly between the Sun and Jupiter.  It is the time the planet is closest to the Earth in its orbit.  For Jupiter that distance will be 412 million miles (664 million km) away.  It’s apparent diameter will be 44.5 seconds of arc.  One second of arc is one 3,600th of a degree.  The Moon and Sun are about a half a degree or 1800 seconds in diameter.  Even so Jupiter appears as a tiny disk in binoculars, but a very tiny disc.  A few of its 4 large Galilean moons can also be spotted in binoculars.  Jupiter is over 11 times the Earth’s diameter and is twice as massive as all the other planets, asteroids and satellites combined.

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


Jupiter in the evning

Jupiter at 10 p.m. March 8, 2016 with some of the spring constellations and Canis Major. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and its moons at 10 p.m. March 7, 2016. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Io and Europa and their shadows transit the face of Jupiter

This evening there will be two satellites transiting across the face of Jupiter at the same time: Europa and Io.  The start of Europa’s transit won’t be seen locally, since Jupiter will rise at 6:30 p.m.  Locally, because of Jupiter being low in the sky I wouldn’t expect to spot the transiting satellites or their shadows.  However observers in Europe, whose Jupiter rising has a 5 hour head start on us, will be in perfect position.  In any case this takes a very good telescope to see.  The appearance of Europa and Io in and out of transit can easily be seen in any telescope.  In the table below I give the timing of these events for both the Eastern time zone (us) and Universal Time for others.  Note the transits start on the 7th of March and end on the 8th for Universal Time.

The shadows of the moons themselves will appear very close to the moons, and may be obscured by them because we are just hours from opposition, and looking at Jupiter from nearly in line with the Sun.  That should be a challenge.  Watch for pictures from astrophotographer’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook sites.

Times for this table are from Project Pluto:  http://www.projectpluto.com/jevent.htm.

Event Eastern Time Zone Universal Time
  Date Time Date Time
Europa Shadow Start* 7 6:08 p.m. 7 23:08
Europa Transit Start* 7 6:11 p.m. 7 23:11
Io Shadow Start 7 7:27 p.m. 8 00:27
Io Transit Start 7 7:28 p.m. 8 00:28
Europa Transit End 7 8:56 p.m. 8 01:56
Europa Shadow End 7 8:56 p.m. 8 01:56
Io Transit End 7 9:42 p.m. 8 02:42
Io Transit End 7 9:42 p.m. 8 02:42
* The Europa Shadow and Transit Start Events cannot be seen in Michigan
because they will occur before Jupiter will rise.



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