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Jupiter Opposition Data, 2022-2024

Jupiter Conjunctions with other Planets, 2022-2025

Jupiter Transit Altitudes, 2022-2024

Moon near Jupiter Dates, 2022

Jupiter's four brightest moons

Jupiter Through the Telescope

The Position of Jupiter, 2019-21

Where is Jupiter tonight? This star map shows the path of Jupiter through Pisces, Aries and Taurus from March 2022 to June 2025. Click for full-size image (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2022)

The path of Jupiter against the background stars of Pisces, Aries and Taurus from March 2022 to June 2025, with positions marked on the 1st of each month (click on the thumbnail for the full-size image). Periods when the planet is unobservable (i.e. when it is too close to the Sun, or passes behind it) are indicated by a dashed line; hence the planet becomes lost from view (in the evening sky) in late March 2023 and becomes visible again (in the morning sky) in early May of that year. The chart shows the changing shape of a planet's apparent looping formation as it moves through the zodiac: Jupiter describes Southward-facing loops in both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 observing periods, morphing to a 'hybrid' loop (half loop, half zig-zag) in the 2024-25 period as the planet approaches its ecliptic crossing in late 2025.

The star map applies to observers in the Northern hemisphere (i.e. North is up); for the Southern hemisphere view, click here. The faintest stars on the map have an apparent magnitude of about +4.8. Printer-friendly versions of this chart are available for Northern and Southern hemisphere views. Astronomical co-ordinates of Right Ascension (longitude, measured Eastwards in hrs:mins from the First Point of Aries) and Declination (latitude, measured in degrees North or South of the celestial equator) are marked around the border of the chart. Click here to see a 'clean' star map of the area (i.e. without planet path); observers may wish to use the 'clean' star map as an aid to plotting the planet's position on a specific night - in which case, a printable version can be found here. Night sky photographs of the region, together with dates of the planet's passage of the brighter stars, can be seen below.

Star names shown in yellow-green were officially adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2017. Four of the five such names shown on this chart were drawn from Hindu, Chinese and Mayan mythology (for more details see the IAU's Working Group on Star Names pages).

The Position of Jupiter in the Night Sky:

2022 to 2024

by Martin J. Powell

Having spent much of 2021 on the border between the constellations of Capricornus, the Sea-Goat, and Aquarius, the Water-Carrier, Jupiter begins its 2022-23 apparition as it emerges in the dawn sky - rising just ahead of the Sun - in late March 2022, positioned in the North-eastern corner of Aquarius. The planet is positioned several degrees South of the Circlet asterism (star pattern) in Western Pisces, the Fishes at this time.

Jupiter and three of its moons imaged by Christofer Mauricio Bez Jimenez in August 2021 (Image: Christofer Mauricio Bez Jimenez/ALPO-Japan)

Jupiter and three of its moons imaged by Christofer Bez (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) in August 2021 using an 8-inch (203 mm) Orion Skyquest Dobsonian telescope fitted with a CMOS camera. An animation can be found at the ALPO-Japan site (Image: Christofer Bez / ALPO-Japan)

Jupiter enters Pisces in mid-April of 2022, crossing to the North of the celestial equator (where the declination of a celestial body is 0) in late May. The planet enters the non-zodiacal constellation of Cetus, the Whale or Sea Monster, in late June, cutting across the constellation's North-western corner. Jupiter reaches its Eastern stationary point in late July before turning retrograde (moving East to West) and describing its 2022-23 loop in Southern Pisces, straddling the celestial equator. Jupiter re-enters Pisces at the start of September, reaching opposition (its closest and brightest orbital position in relation to the Earth for that year) in the fourth week of that month, when it is positioned on the celestial equator; it is also the planet's closest and brightest opposition in twelve years. The planet continues its retrograde motion and reaches its Western stationary point in late November, positioned only 2 to the SSW of the First Point of Aries (Right Ascension = 0 hours, 0 minutes 0 seconds), where the Sun crosses the celestial equator in a Northward direction at the Vernal (Spring) equinox. Jupiter then resumes direct motion (West to East), crossing to the North of the celestial equator once more in mid-January 2023. The planet enters Cetus again in early February of that year, again clipping its North-western corner, re-entering Pisces through its Southern border around mid-month. Jupiter heads out of view in the dusk twilight in late March 2023, marking the end of the planet's 2022-23 apparition.

Jupiter passes through superior conjunction (positioned behind the Sun as seen from the Earth) in mid-April 2023, re-appearing in the dawn sky in early May, heralding the start of its 2023-24 apparition. The planet is positioned in South-eastern Pisces, a short distance West of the star Torcular (Greek lower-case letter 'omicron' Psc or Omicron Piscium, apparent magnitude +4.2) at this time. Jupiter moves into Aries, the Ram, in mid-May, where it describes its 2023-24 loop in the South of the constellation. The planet reaches its Eastern stationary point in early September 2023, positioned several degrees North of the 'head' of Cetus. Jupiter's motion then turns retrograde, the planet reaching opposition in the first week of November in central Southern Aries. Jupiter continues its retrograde motion and reaches its Western stationary point on the first day of January 2024, positioned about 11 SSE of the constellation's brightest star Hamal (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' Ari or Alpha Arietis, mag. +2.0). The planet then resumes direct motion, eventually heading out of view in the dusk sky as it crosses the boundary into Taurus, the Bull, in late April 2024.

Jupiter remains out of view for the next six weeks, passing through superior conjunction in mid-May 2024 before emerging into the dawn sky in early June at the start of its 2024-25 apparition. Due to the planet's high Northerly declination, this apparition is the best for Northern hemisphere observers since that of 2013-14 (see the Jupiter Transit Altitudes section below). As it emerges in the dawn sky Jupiter is positioned several degrees to the WNW of the Hyades star cluster, a V-shaped asterism at the centre of the constellation which forms the 'head' of the Bull. Jupiter continues its Eastward (direct) motion until it reaches its Eastern stationary point in the second week of October 2024. It then turns retrograde and over the next 6 months the planet describes its 2024-25 'hybrid' loop between the 'horns' of the Bull. Jupiter reaches opposition one week into December, positioned about a degree to the WNW of the star  Greek lower-case letter 'iota' Tau (Iota Tauri, mag. +4.6). Jupiter then continues Eastwards and reaches its Western stationary point in early February 2025, located just outside the Bull's Northern horn. It then resumes direct motion once more, again passing between the Bull's horns over the next couple of months before heading out of view in the evening twilight during the first week of June 2025, marking the end of the planet's 2024-25 apparition. Jupiter enters Gemini, the Twins, in the second week of June and, a few days later, attains its most Northerly declination (Greek lower-case letter 'delta' = +23 16' or +23.28 in decimal form).

Jupiter passes through superior conjunction during the fourth week of June 2025, re-appearing in the dawn sky in mid-July in Western Gemini.

[Terms in yellow italics are explained in greater detail in an associated article describing planetary movements in the night sky.]

 

Jupiter at opposition in Libra in May 2018 (Copyright Martin J Powell 2018)

Jupiter in Libra, the Balance photographed by the writer on the planet's opposition day in May 2018. The photograph covers a region of sky extending from Virgo in the West to Ophiuchus in the East. In the full-size picture stars in the darker regions are visible down to about magnitude +7.0 (move your pointer over the image - or click here - for an annotated version and click on the thumbnail for the full-size photo).

 

 

 

Jupiter Opposition Data, 2022 to 2024

Jupiter reaches opposition to the Sun (when it is closest to the Earth and brightest in the sky for any given apparition) every 398.9 days on average, i.e. about 33 days later in each successive year. For the period covered by the above star map, oppositions take place on September 26th 2022, November 3rd 2023 and December 7th 2024. Around opposition, the planet is due South at local midnight in the Northern hemisphere (due North at local midnight in the Southern hemisphere).

Data relating to Jupiter's oppositions from 2022 to 2024 are provided in the table below.

Apparition

Period

Opposition Circumstances

Superior

Conjunction

Opposition

Date

Constellation

Declination

Apparent

Magnitude

Diameter (arcsecs)

Tilt

View from

Earth

(North up)

Distance (AU)*

Equatorial

Polar

from Earth

from Sun

2022/23

2022 Sep 26

Astrological symbol for Pisces (Image from www.4yeo.com)

Psc

+0.0

-2.8

49".9

46".6

+2.6

Jupiter as seen from the Earth at opposition on 2022 September 26 (Image from NASA/JPL's Solar System Simulator)

3.9525

4.9549

2023 Apr 11

2023/24

2023 Nov 3

Astrological symbol for Aries (Image from www.4yeo.com)

Ari

+13.6

-2.8

49".5

46".3

+3.4

Jupiter as seen from the Earth at opposition on 2023 November 3 (Image from NASA/JPL's Solar System Simulator)

3.9825

4.9745

2024 May 18

2024/25

2024 Dec 7

Astrological symbol for Taurus (Image from www.4yeo.com)

Tau

+22.1

-2.7

48".2

45".1

+2.9

Jupiter as seen from the Earth at opposition on 2024 December 7 (Image from NASA/JPL's Solar System Simulator)

4.0894

5.0744

2025 Jun 24

* 1 AU (Astronomical Unit) = 149,597,870 kms (92,955,807 statute miles)

Jupiter opposition data for the period 2022 to 2024. The Declination is the angle of the planet to the North (+) or South (-) of the celestial equator; on the star chart, it represents the planet's angular distance above or below the blue line. The angular diameter (or apparent size) of the planet as seen from Earth is given in arcseconds (where 1 arcsecond = 1/3600th of a degree). Jupiter reaches a maximum angular diameter at the 2022 opposition, after which it reduces slightly year on year as its opposition distance from Earth increases. This is reflected in the planet's apparent magnitude, which peaks at the 2022 opposition, fades fractionally at the 2023 opposition but fades further at the 2024 opposition. After passing perihelion - its closest orbital point to the Sun - in January 2023, Jupiter's solar distance increases slightly over the period. The Tilt (the inclination of Jupiter's rotational axis relative to the Earth's orbital plane) is positive (+) when Jupiter's Northern hemisphere is tipped towards the Earth and negative (-) when its Southern hemisphere is tipped towards the Earth; the maximum value it can attain is 3.4. The Tilt values were obtained from NASA's Jupiter Ephemeris Generator 2.8. All other data were obtained from 'Redshift' and 'SkyGazer Ephemeris' software. The Jupiter images were obtained from NASA's Solar System Simulator.

Superior conjunction (when Jupiter passes behind the Sun as seen from the Earth) takes place on April 11th 2023, May 18th 2024 and June 24th 2025. The planet is not visible from Earth for about two weeks on either side of these dates. At superior conjunction the magnitude fades from its brightest by almost one whole magnitude to -1.9 (in 2023), -1.8 (in 2024) and -1.7 (in 2025) and the planet's apparent diameter shrinks to 33".1 (in 2023), 32".7 (in 2024) and 32".0 (in 2025).

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Jupiter Conjunctions with other Planets, April 2022 to August 2025

Viewed from the orbiting Earth, whenever two planets appear to pass each other in the night sky (a line-of-sight effect) the event is known as a planetary conjunction or appulse. Not all planetary conjunctions will be visible from the Earth, however, because many of them take place too close to the Sun. Furthermore, not all of them will be seen from across the world since the observers' latitude will affect the altitude (angle above the horizon) at which the two planets are seen at the time of the event, and the local season will affect the sky brightness at that particular time. A flat, unobstructed horizon will normally be required to observe most of them.

Six observable conjunctions involving Jupiter take place during the period, all but one of them being in the morning sky. They become more favorable to Northern hemisphere observers over time as Jupiter ascends the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun, which the Moon and planets follow closely) from Aquarius through to Gemini. In fact, the final three events are visible with relative ease worldwide.

Conjunctions between Jupiter and Venus are perhaps the most spectacular to view and the most photogenic. During the period in question there are three occasions when these two planets can be seen together.

The most visually spectacular of the three takes place on April 30th 2022, when Venus passes just 15' (0.25) to the South of Jupiter in South-western Pisces. The closeness of the pairing allows both planets to be easily contained within the eyepiece of a small telescope. Jupiter, at 34".8 across, appears twice the apparent size of Venus, however Venus shines 6 times brighter since Jupiter is 5 times more distant. The conjunction takes place when Venus is only 4 short of its greatest Western elongation from the Sun, providing ideal viewing circumstances for Southern hemisphere observers in particular. As the fainter planet (Jupiter) disappears from view in the dawn twilight, observers here see the planets attain an altitude of between 35 (at 45 South) and 40 (at 15 South) above the ENE horizon. Northern hemisphere latitudes see the pair reach between 8 (50 North) and 37 (at the Equator) above the ESE horizon as Jupiter fades from view. Northwards of about latitude 40 North the planets are seen in continuous twilight from rising to disappearance.

Jupiter and Venus in conjunction on the morning of November 13th 2017 (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2017)

A Conjunction of Jupiter with Venus on the morning of November 13th 2017, photographed by the writer. The pair were positioned on the Virgo-Libra border and were separated by 0.3 (click on the thumbnail for the full-size image).

The Jupiter-Venus conjunction of August 12th 2025 takes place in central Gemini, the separation of 0.8 being the widest of the six conjunctions. The planetary pair contrast nicely with the stellar pair of Castor (Greek lower-case letter 'alpha' Gem or Alpha Geminorum, mag. +1.6) and Pollux (Greek lower-case letter 'beta' Gem or Beta Geminorum, mag. +1.1), the brightest stars in the constellation, positioned 12 to their North-east. Castor and Pollux themselves point South-eastwards towards Mercury (mag. +1.5) which is just beginning a morning apparition. At latitude 50 North Jupiter and Venus reach around 25 high in the East as Jupiter fades from view in the dawn sky, whilst at 30 North the pair are around 32 high, also in the East. At mid-Southern latitudes the pair stand around 12 to 18 high in the North-east when Jupiter disappears in the twilight. The pair rise in darkness between latitudes of about 55 North and 40 South.

The only evening conjunction of the period is between Jupiter and Venus on March 2nd 2023 in central Southern Pisces. It is ideally positioned for the Northern hemisphere due to the steep angle of the ecliptic in the Western sky after sunset at this time of year; it is rather less spectacular when seen from the Southern hemisphere, where the pair are seen at lower horizon altitudes. The angular separation of 32' (0.53) is twice that of April 2022 but one-third less than that of August 2025. At latitude 60 North Jupiter and Venus are at a respectable 20 high in the WSW as Jupiter becomes visible in the dusk twilight, whilst at 40 North they are 26 high. The highest altitudes are in the Northern Tropics where they are 28 high in the West at Jupiter's first appearance. In the Southern hemisphere the pair are in the WNW upon Jupiter's first appearance, the altitudes being as follows: 22 at latitude 15 South, 18 at 25 South, 14 at 35 South and only 9 at 45 South (where the pair are seen in twilight throughout). The planets set in darkness at latitudes North of about 32 South.

Jupiter and Mars are involved in two conjunctions during the period. Most conjunctions between these planets occur at solar elongations of less than 90, when Mars is far from its brightest in any given apparition. Such is the case for the May 2022 and August 2024 events, which take place at elongations of 64 and 65 respectively, the Red Planet shining above magnitude +1.0 in both cases. Conjunctions between Jupiter and Mars provide a good opportunity to compare their distinctly differing colours with the naked-eye.

The Jupiter-Mars conjunction of May 29th 2022 takes place close to the celestial equator in Pisces, the Red Planet passing 38' (0.63) to the South of the much brighter gas giant. It is ideally placed for Southern hemisphere observers. At magnitude -2.1, Jupiter shines thirteen times brighter than Mars and it consequently remains visible for a longer period of time in the dawn twilight. At latitude 50 North the two planets are placed just 16 above the ESE horizon as Mars disappears from view. At 30 North they are 37 above the ESE horizon at disappearance and at the Equator they are 58 above the Eastern horizon. Altitudes in the Southern hemisphere are considerably better: 57 high in the North-east at latitude 25 South, 51 high in the NNE at 35 South and 43 high in the NNE at 45 South.

The Jupiter-Mars conjunction of August 14th 2024 takes place under similar circumstances to that of 2022 but the planets' more Northerly location in the zodiac makes it more favourable to Northern hemisphere observers. At magnitude +0.8 Mars is only fractionally dimmer than in 2022 but the separation is narrower, at 18' (0.3). At latitude 60 North the pair reach a decent 36 above the ESE horizon as Mars fades from view, whilst at 50 North they are 45 high, also in the ESE. At 30 North they 58 high in the Eastern sky at the Red Planet's disappearance whilst at the Equator they are 57 high in the North-east. South of the Equator the pair are positioned in the NNE at Mars' disappearance; at latitude 15 South they reach 46 above the horizon whilst at 45 South they are 22 above the horizon.

The narrowest separation of the six conjunctions is that between Jupiter and Neptune on April 12th 2022, when Jupiter (mag. -1.9) passes only 6' (0.1) to the North of Neptune (+7.9) - an angular distance equivalent to about eleven apparent Jupiter diameters. Since Neptune is the faintest of the observable planets in the night sky, it follows that any conjunction with a bright planet will be technically difficult to observe and optical aid will be required for such an event. Through both telescopes and binoculars, Jupiter's brilliance - almost 9,000 times that of Neptune - means that Neptune must be positioned outside the field of view to enable it to be comfortably seen. Twilight quickly renders Neptune unobservable (even through binoculars) so any conjunctions taking place less than about 20 from the Sun will be difficult or impossible to see. The conjunction of April 2022 is however several degrees above that limit, at 29 West of Sun.

The Jupiter-Neptune conjunction is not viewable from most of the Northern hemisphere - at latitude 20 North, for example, the pair attain an altitude of just 5 above the Eastern horizon as Neptune fades from view. Although rising in darkness and at a reasonable solar elongation, the arrival of dawn twilight means that even in the Southern hemisphere the pair do not rise far above the horizon before Neptune disappears from view. From the Equator they are placed only 9 above the Eastern horizon whilst at 35 South they are 10 high in the East. Much more obvious to the naked-eye observer on this occasion is 'Morning Star' Venus, positioned only 16 away to the WSW of the pair and rising about 1 hours ahead of them. Venus encounters its own planetary conjunction with Neptune only two weeks later.

The following table lists the observable conjunctions involving Jupiter which take place during the period in question. In several cases, other planets are also in the vicinity and these are detailed. Note that, because some of the conjunctions occur in twilight, the planets involved may not appear as bright as their listed magnitude suggests.

Table listing Jupiter conjunctions with other planets from April 2022 to August 2025 (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2022)

Jupiter conjunctions with other planets from April 2022 to August 2025  The column headed 'UT' is the Universal Time (equivalent to GMT) of the conjunction (in hrs : mins). The separation (column 'Sep') is the angular distance between the two planets, measured relative to Jupiter, e.g. on 2023 Mar 2, Venus is positioned 0.5 North of Jupiter at the time shown. The 'Fav. Hem' column shows the Hemisphere in which the conjunction is best observed (Northern, Southern and/or Equatorial). The expression 'Not high NHem' indicates that observers at latitudes further North than about 45N will find the conjunction difficult or impossible to observe because of low altitude and/or bright twilight.

In the 'When Visible' column, a distinction is made between Dawn/Morning visibility and Dusk/Evening visibility; the terms Dawn/Dusk refer specifically to the twilight period before sunrise/after sunset, whilst the terms Evening/Morning refer to the period after darkness falls/before twilight begins (some conjunctions take place in darkness, others do not, depending upon latitude). The 'Con' column shows the constellation in which the planets are positioned at the time of the conjunction.

To find the direction in which the conjunctions are seen on any of the dates in the table, note down the constellation in which the planets are located ('Con' column) on the required date and find the constellation's rising direction (for Dawn/Morning apparitions) or setting direction (for Dusk/Evening apparitions) for your particular latitude in the Rise-Set direction table.

Although any given conjunction takes place at a particular instant in time, it is worth pointing out that, because of the planets' relatively slow daily motions, such events are interesting to observe for several days both before and after the actual conjunction date.

There are in fact two methods of defining a planetary conjunction date: one is measured in Right Ascension (i.e. perpendicular to the celestial equator) and the other is measured along the ecliptic which is inclined at 23 to the Earth's equatorial plane (this is due to the tilt of the Earth's axis in space). An animation showing how conjunction dates are determined by each method can be found on the Jupiter-Uranus 2010-11 triple conjunction page. Although conjunctions measured along the ecliptic can be significantly closer, the Right Ascension method is the more commonly used, and it is the one which is adopted here.

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Martin J Powell is a participant in the Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.jp and Amazon Europe S. r.l. Associates Programmes. These are affiliate advertising programmes designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.fr. As an Amazon Associate, Martin J Powell earns from qualifying purchases.

 

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Constellations of the Zodiac: Photographs

Photograph showing the constellation of Taurus. Click for a full-size photo (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2011)

 Photograph showing the constellation of Aries and the Western region of Taurus. Click for a full-size photo (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2011)

Photograph showing the constellations of Pisces, western Aries, Triangulum and the Great Square of Pegasus. Click for full-size photo (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2005)

Pisces, Aries and Taurus

Three photographs showing the region of the night sky through which Jupiter passes from mid-2022 to mid-2025 (click on the thumbnails for their full-size versions). The chart on the right shows the areas of the star chart which are covered by each of the photographs; dashed lines indicate that the photograph extends beyond the boundaries of the chart.

In the Pisces photo the limiting magnitude is about +6.5 whilst in the Aries & Western Taurus photo it is about +7.5. For the Taurus photo, the limiting magnitude is about +8.0.

Note that the photographs do not have the same scale because of the varying camera lens settings and image resolutions.

Chart showing the areas of the 2022-25 star chart which are covered by the photographs. Dashed lines indicate that the photograph extends beyond the boundary of the star chart

As it slowly moves along the 'celestial highway' known as the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun through the constellations, which the Moon and planets follow closely) Jupiter passes numerous bright stars; these are listed below, in chronological order:

2022

Jupiter rising behind a tree at dusk in February 2015 (Copyright Martin J Powell 2015)

Jupiter Rising  Photographed by the writer at dusk in February 2015, when the planet was positioned in Cancer (click on the thumbnail for the full-size picture).

2023

2024

2025

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Jupiter Transit Altitudes, 2022 to 2024

Jupiter is the largest of the Solar System planets and it can show considerable detail even through modest-sized telescopes. A major factor determining the likelihood of seeing a clear telescopic image is the altitude (angle above the horizon) of a planet at the time of observation. For the naked-eye observer, apart from the increased likelihood of obstruction from trees and buildings, a planet's low altitude is generally of little consequence, however for the telescopic observer high altitude is essential in order to minimise the effects of turbulence, atmospheric dimming and light pollution (skyglow) which prevails near the horizon. Consequently, telescopic observers consider high altitude transits (when a celestial body crosses the observer's meridian, reaching its highest point in the sky) as more favourable than low altitude transits. As a general rule, telescopic observation is best done when a celestial body's altitude is greater than about 30; hence observation in the couple of hours after rising or before setting is best avoided, unless there is no other alternative.

Jupiter's meridian transit altitude (as seen from any given point on Earth) varies from one year to the next in the course of its 11.8-year journey through the zodiac constellations. Its most Northerly point is attained in Gemini (around 23 North of the celestial equator) then - some six years later - its most Southerly point is attained in Sagittarius (around 23 South of the celestial equator). In the intervening years, the planet lies somewhere between these two extremes.

The meridian transit altitude at which an observer sees a planet depends not only upon the constellation in which the planet is positioned at the time, but also upon the observer's latitude. As a result, certain apparitions are more favourable to observers in one hemisphere than to observers in the opposite hemisphere, as demonstrated in the table below:

Table listing transit altitudes of Jupiter from various latitudes from 2022 to 2024 (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2022)

Transit altitudes of Jupiter at successive oppositions from 2022 to 2024, as seen from a variety of latitudes. The Declination (Dec.) is the angle of the planet to the North (+) or South (-) of the celestial equator at the time of the planet's opposition. The Altitude Range is the approximate altitude variation over the course of the apparition, e.g. for the 2023/24 apparition at latitude 40 North, the transit altitude of Jupiter ranges from (63.6 - 4.3) = 59.3 to (63.6 + 4.3) = 67.9. The table shows that, after 2022, Jovian transit altitudes improve significantly for Northern hemisphere observers but worsen for Southern hemisphere observers.

What are the best and worst case scenarios regarding Jupiter's transiting altitude? Southern hemisphere observers witnessed their best case scenario (and Northern hemisphere observers witnessed their worst) in the 2018-19 and 2020-21 apparitions, when the planet was positioned in Ophiuchus and Sagittarius, respectively (see table on the 2019-21 page). Jupiter then transited at altitudes of around 70 to 80 at mid-Southern latitudes; the next best observing periods here will be in the late 2020s and early 2030s.

Northern hemisphere observers last saw their best case scenario (and Southern hemisphere observers saw their worst) in the 2013-14 observing period, when Jupiter was positioned at its most Northerly point in Gemini (see table on the 2011-14 page). Observers at mid-Northern latitudes then saw the planet transit at around 70 high in the sky whilst mid-Southern hemisphere observers saw the planet transiting at only 30 high. The next best viewing times for the Northern hemisphere will be in the 2024-25 and 2025-26 observing periods, when Jupiter passes through Taurus (see above table) and Gemini, respectively.

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Moon near Jupiter Dates, 2022

The Moon is easy to find, and on one or two days in each month, it passes Jupiter in the sky. Use the following table to see on which dates the Moon is in the vicinity of the planet:

Date Range

(World)

Conjunction (Geocentric)

Solar Elong.

Moon Phase

Date & Time

Sep. & Dir.

2022

Jan 5/6

Jan 6, 01h UT

3.8 N

46E

Waxing Crescent

Feb 2/3

Feb 2, 21:09 UT

4.3 N

23E

Waxing Crescent

Mar 30/31

Mar 30, 14:35 UT

3.9 N

19W

Waning Crescent

Apr 26/27

Apr 27, 08:25 UT

3.6 N

40W

Waning Crescent

May 24/25

May 25, 00:01 UT

3.2 N

61W

Waning Crescent

Jun 21/22

Jun 21, 13:35 UT

2.7 N

83W

Waning Crescent

Jul 18/19

Jul 19, 00:59 UT

2.2 N

108W

Waning Gibbous

Aug 14/15

Aug 15, 09:41 UT

1.8 N

134W

Waning Gibbous

Sep 11/12

Sep 11, 15:16 UT

1.8 N

163W

Waning Gibbous

Oct 8/9

Oct 8, 18:11 UT

2.0 N

166E

Waxing Gibbous

Nov 4/5

Nov 4, 20:24 UT

2.4 N

137E

Waxing Gibbous

Dec 1/2

Dec 2, 00:56 UT

2.5 N

109E

Waxing Gibbous

Dec 28/29

Dec 29, 10:33 UT

2.3 N

83E

Waxing Crescent

 

  

 Jupiter and the Full Moon on the night of April 10th 2017 (Copyright Martin J Powell, 2017)

  

 

   

 

Jupiter and the Full Moon photographed by the writer on the night of April 10th 2017, three days after the planet's opposition. From the South-western United Kingdom the Moon was seen to pass within 1.5 of Jupiter.

The Moon occasionally passes in front of Jupiter, blocking it from view for a short period, in an event called a lunar occultation. Such events can only be seen from a specific region of the world. The last lunar occultation of Jupiter took place in 2020; the next set of occultations will begin in February 2023.

Moon near Jupiter dates for 2022. The Date Range shows the range of dates worldwide (allowing for Time Zone differences across East and West hemispheres). Note that the dates, times and separations at conjunction (i.e. when the two bodies are at the same Right Ascension) are measured from the Earth's centre (geocentric) and not from the Earth's surface (times are Universal Time [UT], equivalent to GMT). The Sep. & Dir. column gives the angular distance (separation) and direction of the planet relative to the Moon, e.g. on May 25th at 00:01 UT, Jupiter is 3.2 North of the Moon's centre. The Moon Phase shows whether the Moon is waxing (between New Moon and Full Moon), waning (between Full Moon and New Moon), at crescent phase (less than half of the lunar disk illuminated) or gibbous phase (more than half but less than fully illuminated).

The Moon moves relatively quickly against the background stars in an Eastward direction, at about its own angular width (0.5) each hour (about 12.2 per day). Because it is relatively close to the Earth, an effect called parallax causes it to appear in a slightly different position (against the background stars) when seen from any two locations on the globe at any given instant; the further apart the locations, the greater the Moon's apparent displacement against the background stars. Therefore, for any given date and time listed in the table, the Moon will appear closer to Jupiter when seen from some locations than from others. For this reason, the dates shown in the table should be used only for general guidance.

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Jupiter's Four Brightest Moons

 

Jupiter and its Moons imaged by Jorge Samaniego in August 2021 (Image: Jorge Samaniego/ALPO-Japan)

Jupiter and its moons imaged by Jorge Samaniego in August 2021 (Image: Jorge Samaniego / ALPO-Japan).

Jupiter's four brightest moons (satellites) - namely Ganymede (magnitude +4.6 at opposition), Io (+5.0), Europa (+5.3) and Callisto (+5.6) - can readily be seen through telescopes or steadily-held binoculars. The moons are seen to change their position in relation to each other, along the planet's equatorial plane, from one night to the next. In fact, their motion can be detected in the space of just a few hours.

Because of their low magnification, binoculars may have some difficulty detecting Io since it is the closest of the four moons to the planet; it never lies more than three Jupiter-diameters away. Europa is easier, but Ganymede is the easiest of the four to see. Callisto moves furthest away from the planet but it is also the faintest of the four.

Due to Jupiter's shallow axial tilt (3.1 to the plane of its orbit), the Jovian moons appear to present a more-or-less linear motion when seen from the Earth. This is in contrast to, say, Saturn with its relatively high axial tilt (26.7), which causes its moons to mostly follow apparent elliptical paths around the planet when viewed from the Earth (see Saturn's five brightest moons). Approximately every six years, when the Earth passes through Jupiter's equatorial plane, the Jovian moons are seen to become involved in mutual occultations (where the moons pass in front of each other) and mutual eclipses (where a moon's shadow falls upon another moon). Numerous mutual events took place in the 2021-22 observing period; the next series of events begin in September 2025.

The positions of Jupiter's four brightest moons can be found using Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons facility.

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The Naked-eye appearance of Jupiter

Naked Eye Planet Index

Planetary Movements through the Zodiac

Mercury

Venus

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

Pluto


Credits


Copyright  Martin J Powell  March 2022


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