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Thursday, July 07, 2016


Jupiter Meets the Moon (9 July 2016)

Evening sky on Saturday July 9 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST. Jupiter is very close to the Moon.

The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter and the Moon. at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (but see below). (click to embiggen).

This Saturday evening (9 July), the crescent Moon and the bright planet Jupiter will be very close together, just above the western horizon.

 Indeed at their closest from most of Australia Jupiter is mostly less than half a lunar diameter from Moon (that is about a quarter of a finger-width) at around 9:00 pm local time (see table for details). Except Perth, which has a really close view of 11 arc minutes (11', the Moon is 30' wide) just on astronomical twilight (and hour and a half after sunset).

CityClosest approachTime
Alice Springs23' 20:30

Simulated view of view as seen through a 6" Newtonian reflector, with a 12 mm eyepiece.

They will be visible together in binoculars and wide field eyepieces of telescopes. For telescope user, a 24 mm eyepiece (rough field of view 1 degree) will have the pair together for most of the night.

A 12 mm eyepiece will easily fit Jupiter and a large section of the Moon in the same field of view fro around an hour of closest approach, but details of Jupiter's bands may be hard to see.
A 7.5 mm eye piece will show Jupiter nicely, but you will not get much of the Moon in (and Brisbane, Alice Springs and Darwin they will be too far apart to fit in the FOV of a 7.5 mm eyepiece.

If you start observing shortly around astronomical twilight (an hour and a half after Sunset) you will be able to watch the pair coming closer together (except Perth where they are closest around astronomical twilight, and you can watch them pull apart).

Photographing the pair will be a challenge, as it will be difficult to get a good exposure of Jupiter and its Moons without over exposing the Moon, you may have to make a mosiac with differnt exposure times.

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