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01/11/2018 – Ephemeris – This morning the Moon passes Jupiter and Mars

January 11, 2018 1 comment

Jan 11. This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, January 11th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 5:23. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:19 tomorrow morning.

This morning the thin crescent Moon will be poised over Jupiter and Mars in the east southeast at 7 a.m. It will make a pretty sight for the eye and camera. I follow many amateur astronomers on Twitter with clearer skies than ours who take many great pictures of planetary conjunctions, the Moon and other wonders of the heavens.

There is space mission orbiting Jupiter right now. It doesn’t make great discoveries that shake up the astronomical world enough to make the national news. The Juno mission skims close and then away from Jupiter in order to ferret out its internal structure. It does contain a camera for the public that reveals the spectacular cloud formations of Jupiter’s polar cloudscapes.

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

Addendum

The Moon, Jupiter and Mars

The Moon with Jupiter and Mars this morning January 11, 2018 at 7 a.m. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter's clouds

Some of Jupiter’s clouds photographed by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Ride along with Juno on its 6th close encounter (perijove 6) with Jupiter.  Jove is another Roman name for Jupiter, by Jove!

Jupiter: Juno Perijove 06 from Seán Doran on Vimeo.

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01/04/2018 – Ephemeris – Mars will pass Jupiter in the morning sky this weekend

January 4, 2018 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 4th. The Sun will rise at 8:20. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 5:15. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:44 this evening.

We have, weather permitting, been watching Mars and Jupiter getting closer together day by day in the morning sky. Their paths will cross Saturday evening as Mars slips under Jupiter. However at that time they will be below our horizon. So Saturday morning the 6th Mars will be just to the lower right of the brighter Jupiter by a bit less than he diameter of the Moon and Sunday morning the 7th Mars will be left and below Jupiter by about the same amount. After that they will continue to separate. Jupiter will stay in the constellation of Libra and enter the evening sky in early May. The Earth will catch up to Mars at the end of July. Then it will be closer to the Earth than any time since 2003. It will come as close as 35.8 million miles (57.9 million km) from the Earth.

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

Addendum

Conjunction of Jupiter and Mars

An animation of the Mars-Jupiter conjunction from January 4th thru 7th at 7 a.m.. The two named stars seen Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, stars in the constellation Libra, meaning south claw and north claw respectively. Claws of Scorpius, the constellation rising to the east. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Planets finder

Morning planets at 7 a.m. January 6th, 2018.  Mars and Jupiter labels are superimposed. Created with Stellarium.

 

12/25/2017 – Ephemeris – The 3 and 2 BC “Star of Bethlehem” conjunctions were repeated 3 and 2 years ago

December 25, 2017 1 comment

Merry Christmas. This is Ephemeris for Christmas Day, Monday, December 25th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:07. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:28 tomorrow morning.

August three years ago and June two years ago we had a near repeat of two very close conjunctions of Jupiter and Venus that occurred in 3 and 2 BC. These two conjunctions spaced by a month more than the human gestation period and seen against the constellation of Leo the lion, symbol of Judah could have brought the Magi, who were Persian astrologer-priests to Jerusalem, capital of Judea. The events could have signified the them the birth of a king of Judea. It was the interpretation of the scriptures by the scribes that actually sent them to Bethlehem. This version of the Star of Bethlehem seems to be the one that’s being accepted more and more by those who believe the Star had a physical reality.

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

Addendum

I dredged these up from the Ephemeris archives

June of 2 BC just after sunset Jupiter and Venus again cross paths.

June 16, 2 BC just after sunset Jupiter and Venus again cross paths, at one point too close to be separated with the naked eye. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter-Venus animation

Jupiter-Venus approach animation June 11 to July 1, 2015 at 10:30 p.m. Created using Stellarium and GIMP. Click on image to enlarge.

A link to the 2015 posting is here.  I didn’t realize until later that this was a near repeat of the 3 ans 2 BC conjunctions.  Here’s a link to my posting of the August conjunction.

 

12/22/2017 – Ephemeris – The joining of a god and goddess, a second possibility of the Star of Bethlehem

December 22, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, December 22nd. The Sun will rise at 8:16. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:05. The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 9:21 this evening.

On Tuesday I talked about what I said was one of two possible physical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem. Here is the second. On August 13th of 3 BC Jupiter and Venus briefly merged in the pre-dawn skies against the constellation of Leo the lion. A month later Jupiter was in conjunction with Regulus the bright star in Leo, the little king star. Then 9 months later, after sunset on June 16th of 2 BC the two planets again joined as one in Leo. The king of the planets twice mating with Venus as Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility, against the constellation of the lion signifying Judah in Genesis? One might find meaning in all that, especially the Magi, who were Zoroastrian astrologer-priests from Persia.

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

Addendum

Jupiter-Venus conjunction of August 3, 3 BC.

Animation of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction of August 13, 3 BC. in the morning twilight. Created using Stellarium.

June of 2 BC just after sunset Jupiter and Venus again cross paths.

June 16, 2 BC just after sunset Jupiter and Venus again cross paths, at one point too close to be separated with the naked eye. Created using Stellarium.

 

10/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Jupiter at perihelion and 96P/Comet Machholz 1 rounds the Sun

October 26, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 26th. The Sun will rise at 8:12. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 6:39. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:48 this evening. | Today at 2:02 in the afternoon the planet Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Sun, moving from east to west with respect to the Sun. Leaving the evening sky to enter the morning sky. While invisible from the Earth’s surface. There are cameras recording the Sun at all times that will also pick up Jupiter. Two on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory perched a million miles sunward of the Earth. are chronagraphs, and contain disks that block out the light of the Sun creating total eclipses. The planet will pass above or north of the Sun. The easiest way to find these images is to go to spaceweather.com, go down to the link section and select Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and click on The Sun Now. The images to check out at the two LASCO images.

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

Addendum

Jupiter snd Comet Machholz

The current LASCO C3 image at this blog’s posting time Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO.

Jupiter is about to be covered by the LASCO C3 coronagraph’s occulting disk.  It will still be visible in the C2 field.  As an extra bonus Comet 96P/Machholz entered the LASCO C3 field of view on the 25th and will exit on the 30th.

To follow Jupiter’s progress check out these animated GIFs:  https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3.gif and https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c2.gif.

Note that these animations will be current as of the date you click on them.

05/30/2017 – Ephemeris – Amateur astronomer detects an impact on Jupiter

May 30, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 30th.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 9:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:00.  The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 1:44 tomorrow morning.

Last Friday several amateur astronomers photographing Jupiter with video CCDs captured a flash in the high northern latitude of Jupiter.  Part of the reason for videos is to stack the individual images to average out the turbulence of the atmosphere they were looking through.  It’s a fantastic technique.  The flash was probably due to the impact of an asteroid.  The first objects to have been seen to crash into Jupiter were the chunks of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that crashed into Jupiter over a one week period in July of 1994.  Since then several flashes have been seen, all of them captured and confirmed by amateur astronomers.  Amateurs have also discovered storms on Saturn for the Cassini spacecraft to study.

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

Addendum

Jupiter Impact image

Jupiter Impact alert Image annotated. Note the white spot at the top of Jupiter. Credit Sauveer Pendranghelu, Afa, Corsica, France via Damian Peach’s tweet.  Click on image to enlarge.

 

Ephemeris Extra – Amateur astronomers produce a “Journey to Jupiter” video from 1,000 images

May 14, 2017 Comments off

This is impressive!  This is on YouTube, but read the explanation from Peter Rosén’s Planetary Society post which also has the video.

NASA requests the assistance of amateur astronomers to observe and record Mars, Jupiter and Saturn to help in observing these planets.  Usually satellites are too close to see the planetary big picture.  And besides amateur astronomers outnumber planetary scientists about a gazillion to one.  They’re the ones to discover storms on these worlds and communicate heads up to either view them from satellites or hunker down as in the case of the solar-powered Opportunity rover.

Thanks to the Planetary Society for the heads up.

Frame from A Journey to Jupiter

A frame from A Journey to Jupiter showing a time-lapse of Jupiter’s rotation and how the belts and zones move at different rates. Credit: The 91 amateur astronomers provided the over 1,000 images to make this video.