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From: Roger Nelson
To: All
Date: 2017-04-06 21:06:04
Subject: An All-Nighter with Planet Jupiter

Hello All!

An All-Nighter with Planet Jupiter

Stop what you're doing and mark your calendar:

When: Sunset on April 7, 2017 to sunrise on April 8, 2017

What: Jupiter at opposition

Head to the backyard with your telescope at dusk for a rare evening with
planet Jupiter. In fact, you can spend all night long with the gas giant.
It will be "at opposition" - opposite the sun in the sky, with
the Earth in between. Jupiter will be especially dazzling. This is its
closest approach to Earth in 2017, making it appear at its largest and
brightest. And since it only happens every 13 months, you'll have a long
wait for your next big date.

But on this occasion, as the sun dips below the western horizon, you and
Jupiter will just be getting started. The planet will be rising in the
east. By midnight, Jupiter will be beaming overhead, outshining most of its
competition in the night sky. It will be well placed near Spica, the
brightest star in the constellation Virgo, but will easily upstage even
this heavenly body.

Aim your scope at the life of the party - the view will take your breath away.

"With Jupiter so close, the view through even an inexpensive telescope
will be great," says Brian Day of NASA's Solar System Exploration
Research Virtual Institute. "You'll see the planet's cloud bands and
storm systems, and you can even watch its four largest moons, called the
Galilean moons, change position as they orbit."

Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto will appear as bright pinpricks of
light, with their positions moving noticeably near Jupiter throughout the
night. While these moons looks calm from a distance, they are actually very
active! Io, Jupiter's innermost moon - is the most volcanically active body
in the solar system. There are oceans of liquid water seething beneath the
crusts of ice encasing Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Right now, NASA's Juno spacecraft is orbiting Jupiter too. Since summer
2016 it has been returning incredible images with never before seen
resolution, of Jupiter's atmosphere. With the previous Jupiter mission,
Galileo, ending in 2003, many years passed between these two missions and
much happened in our continuous exploration of the solar system.

"During the years between the Galileo and Juno missions, we depended
on telescopes such as Hubble as well as amateur observations," notes
Day. "And the amateur astronomer community really stepped up! They're
constantly monitoring Jupiter's atmosphere and have even reported new storm
systems on the planet. Some of the images they have taken are pretty
amazing. You'd swear they were taken from orbit."

Amateur astronomer Damian Peach has the opposition highlighted on his
calendar. He says "My own imaging plans are already underway for this
apparition using primarily a 1 meter telescope located near Las Campanas
Observatory in Chile."

If it's cloudy on the night of April 7, don't despair. Jupiter will still
be close over the following weeks, only about 3 percent farther away a
month after Opposition. As Jupiter appears higher in the sky each evening
and the nights grow warmer, this spring should be a great time to keep
watching the giant planet.

An all-nighter with Jupiter will be a great opportunity to hone your own
skills. Don't miss it!

For more news about bright objects in the night sky, stay tuned to


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