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Friday, December 02, 2022

Observation Tips in September: The Planet King Comes Over Trump

Jupiter On September 26 it stands in opposition in the constellation Pisces – and with an apparent magnitude of -2.9 Mag, the planet is undoubtedly the highlight of the sky. In opposition, the planets and the Sun are exactly opposite each other in Earth’s sky. When the sun sets, the planet rises and vice versa. So Jupiter can be seen all night, and is 591.3 million kilometers closer than at any other time throughout the year. It is currently observable in binoculars especially on the large Jupiter disk: it measures about 50 arc seconds at the planet’s equator and slightly less at the poles. The giant planet will also reach a good altitude with 40 degrees again this year. Best prospects for seeing cloud bands, cloud swirls and of course the famous Great Red Spot – which changes shape and color slightly each year. What does this stain look like? trace! Also there are the four bright moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, whose paths, shadows, occultations and eclipses can be observed even with small telescopes (see table “Appearance of Jupiter’s Galilean moons”). One can see that when a moon passes in front of Jupiter’s disk, the distance to its own shadow is less, the closer it gets to the opposing date – then the Sun, Earth, and Jupiter are (almost) exactly in line. . This is especially true for the inner moon Io: it also casts part of its shadow during a transit on the evening of the 25th of the month. This is possible because the last equinox on Jupiter was only a year and a half ago. The Moon makes its monthly Jupiter visit on September 11.

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saturn Was in opposition in mid-August. It turns retrograde in September, that is, west through Capricorn. It is best seen before midnight: on 1 September it ends at 00:09 at 24 degrees altitude; It reaches its highest on the last day of the month, two hours earlier, at around 10:10. In binoculars, the -0.5 Mag bright planet is visible at 18 arc seconds, with its rings about 43 arc seconds in size. With a small telescope one can see at least four moons surrounding the rings, of which Titan is the brightest and simplest at 8.5 Mag. This moon will pass to the south of Saturn on 7-8 September.

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