Science

See the conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter on Sunday (September 11)

On Sunday (September 11), Jupiter and the Moon will approach each other in the sky in the same right ascension, an astronomical alignment known as conjunction.

The Moon will pass within one degree south of Jupiter in the evening sky, and both objects will be visible in front of the constellation Pisces. From New York, the conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter will appear at approximately 20:37 ET (00:37 GMT September 12) about seven degrees above the eastern horizon. (A fist at arm’s length is about 10 degrees across the sky.)

At around 1:57 AM ET (0547 GMT) on Sunday (September 12), the conjunction will reach its highest point in the sky at 49 degrees above the southern horizon. The conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter will be visible until about 6:13 AM ET (1013 GMT), when they both disappear into pre-dawn twilight at an altitude of about 19 degrees above the western horizon.

Related: Night Sky September 2022: What You Can See Tonight [maps]

Due to the large angular separation of the Moon and Jupiter during this conjunction, the event will not be visible in the telescope’s field of view. This means the connection on Sunday will be better seen with the naked eye or with binoculars. Clear dark skies will be an advantage in connection detection.

Related: Best binoculars of 2022: The best choice for stargazing, wildlife and more

The Moon moves quickly across the night sky compared to other cosmological bodies, passing each constellation about once a month. Jupiter passes the constellations at a much slower rate, passing about one constellation per year.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and about 484 million miles from our star. It is also the largest planet in the Solar System by a wide margin, greatly eclipsing the Moon despite being dimmer in the night sky above Earth.

It would take about 1300 “Earths” to fill the volume of Jupiter, so given that about 50 moons can fit in our planet’s volume, this means that the gas giant can supposedly fit about 65,000 moons in its volume.

NASA says it would take 11 Earths for Jupiter to be the diameter, and if our planet were the size of a grape, this gas giant would be a basketball compared to it, and the Moon would be the size of a garden pea.

Although Jupiter is made of dense gas, it is so massive that it is estimated to have more than twice the mass of all the other planets in the solar system combined.

An illustration of the solar system to scale. (Image credit: Mark Garlick/Getty Images) (will open in a new tab)

Seen from the surface of the Earth with the naked eye, Jupiter appears as a bright white speck of light that can be seen at dusk and is brighter than even the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius. Despite this, Jupiter is still dimmer than Venus.

Jupiter’s four largest moons – or Jupiter’s moons – Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto, would also be visible from Earth to the naked eye, if not for their proximity to the gas giant and the light it reflects is “blurred”. the light they reflect.

Most of Jupiter’s more than 75 moons can be seen with binoculars or a small telescope, through which Jupiter appears as a white disk.

A more powerful instrument, or a closer view, shows that Jupiter’s surface is covered in characteristic streaks and whorls. These are clouds and winds of ammonia and water, revolving around the gaseous atmosphere of the giant planet, consisting mainly of hydrogen and helium.

The surface of Jupiter is marked by powerful storms, the most notable of which is the “Great Red Spot”. This storm, which has been raging for more than 100 years, plunges into Jupiter’s atmosphere deep enough to swallow the Earth whole.

Conjunctions between the Moon and the planets occur about once a month at about the same time. The next conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter will occur next month from the evening of October 8 to the morning of October 9.

You can check out our guides to the best binoculars and the best telescopes to spot the conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. If you’re hoping to get a good shot of Jupiter or the Moon, check out our recommendations for the best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography.

Editor’s Note: If you’ve taken a picture of the Moon and Jupiter and would like to share it with Space.com readers, please send your photos, comments, name, and location to spacephotos@.

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