The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Jupiter and the Moon Have a VERY Close Encounter

On January 21st, 2013, Jupiter and the Moon will have a very close encounter in the evening sky. Using the angle measure tool in Stellarium, it looks like closest approach will put them only about 28 arc minutes apart, or about one Moon diameter. This closest approach occurs about 8pm MST on January 21st. Timing is important since the Moon moves fairly quickly across the sky (about its diameter every hour) so you may see the Moon farther from Jupiter if you look several hours before or after closest approach. Fortunately for most of North America, this occurs at a reasonable time to observe in the evening.

As a bonus, you can also see the Pleaides and the bright star Aldeberan nearby. Here is a finding chart.


I went outside tonight for a little preview. Some high thing clouds were rolling through so the Moonlight scattered a bit more than I might like, but I got a little preview shot.


I was zoomed in a little too far to catch Aldeberan but you can clearly see the Moon, Jupiter and the Pleiades. Tomorrow night the Moon will have moved much closer to Jupiter.

Since I have a new camera (I got a Canon 60D) I decided to zoom in on Jupiter and see what I could get. I knew that I could get all four Moons easily with my old camera but with a higher resolution (18MP vs 10MP) I thought I might get a better shot. I think I did.


All four Moons are clearly visible, two to the lower left and two to the upper right (they all lie roughly on the same line). Everything is just a little more crisp with the new camera.

I am hoping for clear skies tomorrow night. If I have them, look for pics!


January 21, 2013 - Posted by | Astrophotography, Conjunctions, Jupiter, Moon, Observing |

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