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May 7, 2018 - Jupiter Up Close

Jupiter Up Close  On Tuesday this week, Jupiter reaches opposition, the time when it appears opposite the Sun in the sky. The significance of opposition is that Jupiter is closer to Earth than it normally is, and it is visible all night, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise. The weeks and months leading up to and after opposition are the best times for observing Jupiter, as its apparent size grows to around 44 arc seconds. This may seem small (it’s slightly more than a hundredth of a degree), but when viewed through a telescope Jupiter will appear about 50 percent bigger than when it is farthest from Earth. But the view from Earth, even at opposition, cannot match the up-close views achieved by the Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft, which captured this stunning south pole view of Jupiter in early 2017.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

Weekly Calendar

May 7 - 13, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 7

Last Qtr Moon 10:09 PM ET

1992: STS-49 Endeavour launched

Tuesday 8

Vesta appears stationary
Jupiter at opposition

Wednesday 9

2003: Hayabusa launched, first mission to retrieve a sample from an asteroid

Thursday 10

Neptune 2° north of Moon

1900: Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin born
M2-F2 lifting body crash-lands; footage later becomes opening scene of “The Six Million Dollar Man”

Friday 11

2009: STS-125 Atlantis launched, fifth and final Hubble servicing mission

Saturday 12

Mercury 2° south of Uranus

1930: Adler Planetarium opens, first planetarium in Western Hemisphere

Sunday 13

Mother's Day

Uranus 5° north of Moon
Mercury 2° north of Moon

1964: Apollo A-001 launched (Little Joe II test flight)

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