Usk Astronomical Society Members Blog

Jupiter is at opposition at 01:28 BST 9th May i.e. this Wednesday.  That means that the planet, the Earth and the Sun are in a line - that is significant because that is when Jupiter makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed perigee – making it appear at its brightest and largest (about 45 arc seconds).  It is worth observing even with binoculars - you will easily spot its 4 largest moons. With just about any telescope you may also seen the bands and clouds in its atmosphere.  The attached picture was taken from Abergavenny last night.  The dark dot near the bottom of the planet and a bit to the left is the shadow of Europa, just to the lower right of that you may spot a small pale dot, that is Europa itself.  One can tell that the planet is close to opposition because the shadow of the moon is so close to the image of the moon itself - that is because everything is almost in line - Jupiter, Europa, Earth, Sun.  To view the planet look low in the south around midnight or an hour or so either side.  you cannot miss it!  It is in the constalleation of Virgo.



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