Jupiter And The Half Moon Invite You To Look Up Tonight

Look for the half moon to the lower right of Jupiter tonight. Source: Stellarium
Look for the half moon to the lower right of Jupiter tonight. This map shows the sky around 9 p.m. local time looking high in the southwest. Besides the moon and Jupiter, other bright stars in the scene are Regulus in Leo the Lion, Pollux and Castor in Gemini the Twins and Procyon in Canis Minor (Small Dog). Source: Stellarium

As if to advertise that astronomy is as easy as looking up, the first quarter moon will be near Jupiter high in the southern sky at nightfall this evening. Take a look outside at dusk and let the exquisitely-cut lunar half-pie point you to Jupiter.

Jupiter and the four Galilean moons (named after Galileo, who first discovered them) around 9:30 p.m. tonight April 25. Source: Meridian
Jupiter and the four Galilean moons (named after Galileo, who first discovered them) around 9:30 p.m. CDT tonight April 25. South is up and east to the right as seen in many small scopes. Source: Meridian

Have telescope? Even a small glass will show all four of Jupiter’s brightest moons lined up in a neat row to the east of the planet around 9-10 p.m. 10x binoculars should easily show the two moons farthest from Jupiter tonight, Ganymede and Europa, as long as you can hold them steady.

The moon this evening. Dark seas or maria were once enormous craters  blasted in the lunar crust by asteroid impacts. Later, they filled with lava bubbling up from below. Spectacular craters blanket the white, ancient crust of the moon called the lunar highlands. Source: Virtual Lunar Atlas
The moon this evening. Dark seas or maria were once enormous craters blasted in the lunar crust by asteroid impacts. Later, they filled with lava bubbling up from below to become flat plains. Spectacular craters blanket the white, ancient crust of the moon called the lunar highlands. Source: Virtual Lunar Atlas

Want more? Take that scope or binoculars and point them at the moon. First quarter phase brings hundreds of impact-sculpted craters into view especially in the southern half of the lunar disk. I’ve labeled the dark “seas” or “maria” (the Latin term) and three prominent craters. Use a magnification of 40x or higher for the best views.

Hope you had a great Astronomy Day. If you weren’t able to attend an event, consider the moon and Jupiter your own private show.

3 Responses

  1. Edward M. Boll

    Pretty pairing of the 2, seen outside my upstairs window. I plan on going out tonight. The 2 will be even closer. Also I plan to check my star charts to try a binocular view of Lovejoy. With it still surprisingly brighter than Neptune, it will be worth going out to see.

  2. Bark Wadder

    are you seeing the aurora on clear nights? found any Mars meteorites lately? heard about the jealous email our planet got from Pluto this week with earth day congrats?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Bark,
      It’s been very quiet the past week for auroras. None I’ve seen or heard about. I see Mars meteorites all the time … on eBay!

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