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The Urban Astronomer

King of the gods (and the night sky): Jupiter

24 Feb 2014, 04:55 UTC
King of the gods (and the night sky): Jupiter
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Jupiter and Winter CircletI've been enjoying Jupiter this winter. Jupiter is the most obvious and brilliant object in the night sky after sunset. It dominates the already spectacular winter sky, outshining the bright stars of Orion, Canis Major, Taurus and Gemini, and adding to this bright and busy part of the night sky. The attached diagram shows the bright "Winter Circlet" and the location of Jupiter among the stars of this distinctive circle of stars.Jupiter is brilliant to the naked eye, but with some magnification becomes even more impressive. This article in Sky & Telescope provides but a few of the highlights to look for if you point binoculars or a telescope at Jupiter. It's marvelous to look at, even if you can only spot the four Galilean moons. But with stronger optics and a clear sky you can see the equatorial bands that stretch across the surface of the planet. And with even more magnification and excellent skies you can see the Great Red Spot. So much to look for in an object that is unmistakeable even in the brightest of city settings. Stop and take a look tonight for Jupiter -- you can't miss it.Image courtesy Sky Safari.

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