This Week In Astronomy

Jupiter at Opposition
Gigantic Jupiter reaches opposition on April 7th, making it the best night of the year to explore the gas giant planet. While Jupiter can be detected in almost any size telescope, the most rewarding views of the gas giant planet and its four brightest moons can be found in larger refractor and reflector telescopes with moderate to high power eyepieces. Opposition occurs when a planet reaches its closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit. Since Jupiter will be directly opposite the Sun from Earth on April 7th, it will be visible all night long – rising at sunset and setting at sunrise. Take advantage of Jupiter’s brightest night of the year and take a closer look at its striking cloud band “stripes” and four Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

Jupiter and the Moon
Just a few days after reaching opposition, gas giant planet Jupiter pairs up with the Moon to make a pretty pairing in the night sky. Get outside at sunset on April 10th to see gas giant planet Jupiter appear as close as 2.4° South of the nearly Full Moon. Both Jupiter and the Moon will rise together over the eastern horizon just a few moments after sunset.