Need Some Dazzle In Your Life? Don’t Miss Tonight’s Jupiter-moon Show

Jupiter (left), the moon and the Pleiades star cluster (upper right) last night Nov. 27, 2012. I partially hid the moon behind the tree during the exposure to better show the multicolored corona created by passing clouds. Click to learn more about coronas. Photo: Bob King

November’s been a wonderful month for conjunctions (close approaches) of the planets and moon. Tonight’s no exception. Jupiter and the Full Beaver Moon will be little more than one degree apart in the east all night long. I guarantee a lot of dazzle – this pairing is close enough to get the attention of anyone who happens to look up. Be sure to check it out.

The scene facing east around 10 o’clock local time. Jupiter and the full moon will be joined by the bright stars Capella, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran. Maps created with Stellarium

The two will be closest around 5:30 p.m. (CST). Since the moon is full and rises around sunset, you not only have a great opportunity to see how soon you can spot Jupiter after moonrise but also a chance to photograph the pair during twilight with an interesting foreground scene. For Duluth, Minn. the moon comes up at 4:38 p.m. To find the time for your town, just click HERE.

Simulated view of Jupiter and its four brightest moons seen through 10x binoculars or a small telescope tonight around 9 p.m. CST. II = Europa, I = Io, III = Ganymede and IV = Callisto.

If you stay up late, you’ll see the moon slowly slide under the planet as it heads east in its orbit around Earth. Have a scope or binoculars? Take a closer look at Jupiter – all four of its brightest moons will be lined up on either side of the planet.

You should be able to spot Europa and Callisto, the two farthest from the planet, with binoculars. A scope will show all four with ease. Enjoy the show!

2 Responses

  1. Christine

    I stepped outside tonight in Fargo and enjoyed the brilliant show. Found your article on the net to find out which star/planet was directly above the moon. The full moon was ringed by an enormous halo almost to the edges of the horizon. What a gorgeous, mystical sight! Thanks for explaining the Jupiter conjunction.

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