APR 24, 2015 07:37 PM PDT

Moon and Jupiter to Meet Up

On Saturday and Sunday, you can finish the day by stepping outside and enjoying a view of the rendezvous of two of the brightest objects in the night sky - the moon and the planet Jupiter.
Jupiter is well-placed for viewing during April 2015. It is in the constellation Cancer all month and can be spotted in the evening sky.
About 45 minutes after the sun sets on both nights, the eye-catching celestial duo will be visible in the southwest sky, roughly two- thirds of the way up from the horizon to the point directly overhead (called the zenith).

The moon will officially reach first-quarter phase on Saturday evening (April 25) at 7:55 p.m. EDT (2355 GMT). The line separating the light half of the moon (on the right) from the dark half - will appear perfectly straight, and Jupiter will be about 9 degrees above and to the left of the moon's left. (Reminder: Your clenched fist held at arm's length measures about 10 degrees.)

On Sunday evening (April 26), the two celestial bodies will be just 8 degrees apart. But on that day, the moon will be in a waxing gibbous phase and will be situated to the lower left of Jupiter.
Even without the moon, Jupiter readily attracts attention: At about magnitude minus 2.1, the gas giant outshines everything in the night sky except Venus and the moon. These days, Jupiter first comes into view high in the southwest during the early stages of twilight and sets at around 2:45 a.m. local daylight time.

In a telescope, Jupiter is a prime attraction, best observed during early evening when it's still high and its image reasonably calm. The giant planet appears as a great, big, belted ball showing tantalizing glimpses of detail. Admittedly, Jupiter currently appears only 75 percent as big as it did at opposition in early February, but don't let that stop you from searching for the planet. The quirks of atmospheric conditions, which can change from minute to minute, often make a bigger difference in what a telescope will show of Jupiter than does the planet's apparent size. And Jupiter's four bright Galilean moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa) are always performing.

Finally, take note of this: Jupiter is now just two months away from a spectacularly close conjunction with Venus, which will occur on July 1.

(Source: Space.com)
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
AUG 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 14, 2018
Astronomers Spy Supermassive Black Hole At the Center of An Ultracompact Dwarf Galaxy
It’s not uncommon for astronomers to find supermassive black holes at the center of massive galaxies, but it is somewhat unusual for astronomers to s...
SEP 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 11, 2018
Lunar Rock Samples Collected by the Apollo Astronauts May Not Tell the Moon's Entire Story
While some researchers study our planet to learn more about its history and formation, other researchers focus their efforts on alternative bodies in the s...
OCT 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 24, 2018
NASA's Parker Solar Probe Snaps a Picture of Earth
Back in August, a Delta IV Heavy rocket ignited its engines and lofted NASA’s highly-anticipated Parker Solar Probe into space. Just over one month l...
NOV 07, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 07, 2018
Near-Twin of New Horizons' Ralph Instrument to Study Jupiter's Trojan Asteroids
If you followed along when NASA’s New Horizons probe flew past Pluto in July 2015, then you probably remember all the stunning photographs taken of t...
NOV 12, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 12, 2018
SpaceX Planning to Launch Miniature BFR Prototype
SpaceX is perhaps best known for its Falcon 9 rocket, which frequently powers International Space Station resupply missions and ferries communication satel...
NOV 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2018
Barnard's Star May Host an Exoplanet After All...
At six light-years away from Earth, Barnard’s Star holds the title of the second-closest stellar neighbor to our solar system. Astronomers have long...
Loading Comments...