On Sunday (September 11), Jupiter and the moon will approach each other in the sky by sharing the same right ascension, an astronomical arrangement known as conjunction.
The moon will pass about a degree south of Jupiter in the evening sky and both objects will be visible in front of the constellation Pisces. From New York, the conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter will appear around 8:37 p.m. ET (0037 GMT on September 12) about seven degrees above the eastern horizon. (A fist at arm’s length is about 10 degrees in the sky.)
Around 1:57 a.m. ET (05:47 GMT) Sunday, September 12, the conjunction will peak in the sky – 49 degrees above the southern horizon. The Moon-Jupiter conjunction will continue to be visible until about 6:13 a.m. ET (10:13 a.m. GMT), at which time they will both disappear into the dawn twilight at about 19 degrees above the western horizon.
Related: Night sky, September 2022: what you can see tonight [maps]
Due to the wide angular separation of the moon and Jupiter during this conjunction, the event will not be visible in the field of view of a telescope. This means that Sunday’s conjunction will be best seen with the naked eye or with a pair of binoculars. Clear, dark skies will be an advantage in spotting the conjunction.
Related: Best binoculars 2022: Top picks for stargazing, wildlife and more
The moon moves rapidly across the night sky relative to other cosmic bodies passing each constellation about once a month. Jupiter makes a much slower pass past the constellations, passing about one per year.
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and about 484 million kilometers from our star. It’s also the largest planet in the solar system by a wide margin, massively eclipsing the moon despite being darker in the night sky above Earth.
It would take about 1,300 “Earths” to fill Jupiter’s volume, so with about 50 moons able to fit in our planet’s volume, that means the gas giant could possibly fit about 65,000 moons in its volume.
NASA says 11 Earths would be needed to ring the diameter of Jupiter, and if our planet was the size of a grape, then this gas giant would be a basketball by comparison, and the moon would be about the size of a grape. ‘a pea.
Although composed of dense gas, Jupiter is so massive that it is estimated to have more than twice the mass of all the other planets in the solar system combined.
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Seen with the naked eye from Earth’s surface, Jupiter appears as a bright white point of light, which can be seen at dusk and is brighter than even the brightest star in the night sky – Sirius. Despite this, Jupiter is still darker than Venus.
Jupiter’s four largest moons – or Jovian moons – Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto would also be visible from Earth with the naked eye were it not for their proximity to the gas giant and the light that she reflects. the light they reflect.
The largest of more than 75 Jovian moons can be seen with binoculars or a small telescope, through which Jupiter appears as a white disk.
A more powerful instrument, or a closer view, shows that Jupiter is surrounded by distinctive swirls and swirls. These are clouds and winds of ammonia and water swirling around the gas giant planet’s atmosphere, which is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium.
Jupiter’s surface is marked by massive storms, the most notable of which is the “Great Red Spot”. This storm has been raging for more than 100 years and is sinking deep enough in Jupiter’s atmosphere to be able to engulf the entire Earth.
Conjunctions between the moon and the planets occur about once a month around the same time. The next conjunction of the moon and Jupiter will take place next month on the evening of October 8 to the morning of October 9.
You can check out our guides for the best binoculars and the best telescopes for spotting the conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. If you’re hoping to capture a good shot of Jupiter or the moon, check out our recommendations on the best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you take a photo of the moon and Jupiter and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, and name and location to email@example.com.
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