EYES TO THE SKY: Jupiter — all-night planet all the month of May

More Info
By Monday, May 14 Learning  1 Comment
May 10, 2018: Planet Jupiter closest to Earth this year. Image courtesy EarthSky.org

May 14 – 27, 2018

Mount Washington — As twilight deepens, the star-like light of bright Jupiter appears above the southeastern horizon. Jupiter climbs to its highest point around midnight, then descends toward the southwest. On May 8-9, Jupiter, Earth and the Sun lined up, a momentous celestial phenomenon known as “opposition.” Around this time of opposition, the planet is brightest for the year and visible from dusk until dawn.

The planets in our solar system on May 27, 2018. The sun is the yellow ball at the center. Earth is the third planet, and Jupiter is the fifth planet, from the sun. Earth passed between Jupiter and the sun on May 9, and then Jupiter was directly opposite the sun in our sky, rising at sunset. Now we’re offset from that sun-Jupiter line a bit, but Jupiter is still ascending in our eastern sky as the sun descends below our western horizon. Image via Fourmilab, text courtesy EarthSky.org

Jupiter rises three-quarters of an hour before sunset today, the 14th, accounting for its appearance above the horizon when skies darken enough to see its -2.50 magnitude light (the smaller the number the greater the magnitude). By the 27th, the great planet rises nearly two hours before sunset and so will appear in the evening sky considerably higher above the horizon and set earlier in the morning.

Image courtesy EarthSky.org

Namesake of the Roman king of the gods, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and the third brightest object in the night sky, next to Venus and the moon. Although Venus is a much smaller planet than giant Jupiter, Venus’ brilliance in our skies, now at magnitude -3.95, is, in part, the function of it orbiting closer to Earth and to the Sun than Jupiter. Significant also is Venus’ particularly reflective atmosphere. Shortly after sunset, Venus shines in the west-northwest. See it, as the Evening Star, until about 10 p.m. If your location affords you a view to both the northwest and southeast, you’ll take in both planets with a turn of the head.

Here is an easy-to-remember sentence that provides a reminder of the order of the planets from the Sun outward: My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nuts represents Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

Resource

https://www.universetoday.com/36649/planets-in-order-of-size/


Return Home

One Comment   Add Comment

  1. Susan P. Bachelder says:

    OH thank you! Pluto back on the planet list, at least symbolically!

What's your opinion?

We welcome your comments and appreciate your respect for others. We kindly ask you to keep your comments as civil and focused as possible. If this is your first time leaving a comment on our website we will send you an email confirmation to validate your identity.