Thursday, August 09, 2012
Occultation of Jupiter, Sunday August 12.
The crescent Moon will occult the planet Jupiter in the early morning hours of August 12 as seen from Darwin. In Australia all other cities and locations south of Darwin will see Jupiter very close (less than half a fingerwidth) to the Moon (it alos missed in Papua New Guinea).
Some places in Indonesia (eg Jakarta) will see the Jupiter emerge from behind the Moon around 4:40 local time. The Moon covering Jupiter occurs to close to Moonrise to be seen from these locations.
Jupiter will disappear behind the bright limb of the Moon at 4:07 am local time in Darwin, followed by Ganymede. Io and Europa reappear from behind the dark limb at 4:40 am, followed by Jupiter at 4:41, then Callisto and Ganymede (4:47 and 4:51 respectively). Astronomical twilight begins at 5:50 am in Darwin, so it should be sufficiently dark for good viewing.
For the rest of Australia, Jupiter is closest to the Moon at around 5 am local time.
With the Pleiades cluster and the constellation of Orion close by, this is a beautiful morning sight.
On the morning of the 12th, as well as Jupiter being close to the Moon, Jupiter's satellites play hide and seek with transits of Io and Europa. Well worth a look in even a small telescope.
As the sun rises on the 12th, this is also an excellent time to try and see Jupiter in the daylight, using the crescent Moon as your guide.