Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jupiter, Light Of August - And A Total Lunar Eclipse

Ah, it's the time of Jupiter already!  The planet with a disc, one ring, like Saturn's many, something you can't see without binocs but is so worth the small investment.  After the sun sets in the west, turn to the left a slight bit.  You'll see something brighter than anything else in the sky:  that is Jupiter, the big guy.  Also, our Luna has an early show in store, the 2nd full moon total eclipse of the year.  It starts before dawn around 3:25 so I'm setting the alarm - maybe just stay up all night.     

Jupiter at dusk, before nightfall.  Lunar eclipse before dawn, on the 28th.  You may even see Mars at early daybreak.   

Look southerly for Jupiter at nightfall.  Jupiter, the Roman god equivalent of the Greek god Zeus - was named for a reason.  Any guesses?  It will be the first light you'll see and as nightfall deepens it'll grow brighter and brighter.  Only 5 degress below orange-gold Antares (the nearest star to us than Sol, our "sun") Antares is also the "heart" of Scorpio, 1/20th as bright.  Antares is a star, like our sun.  I know you're aware, but remember when you're looking at stars, they aren't up there, you're seeing how they looked LIGHT YEARS ago, that's how long it takes for light to reach earth.  Doesn't that just....?!?!?

Jupiter will halt its retrograde (westerly) motion and begin going back toward the east, before achieving conjuction with Antares.  It's motion will be slow and bright, impossible to miss with binocs.  From night to night during August, it will continue changing its position.

A new moon occurs on Aug 12th making it dark and easier to see a wonderful Perseid meteor shower that night.  Meteors ("falling stars") are in abundance every night. 

We're about to see the second full moon total eclipse of the year, on August 28th.  Centered on the Pacific, it will be visible for more than half the globe, including North America before dawn.  You'll have to wake very early to see it, around 3:25 a.m.  Insomniacs, rejoice!  Also, totality is long ( 91 minutes ) and deep, so the moon will get rather dark by 3:37 a.m. PDT   


Facts couresty of Sky & Telescope, Skywatcher, star charts, R&L.  









jmorancoyle said...

    My only disappointment in a post like this is that I live in the Chicago area. City lights effectively shut out all but the brightest. I won't even be able to see much of the meteor showers this month. I will look for the eclipse if I'm up that early. (There's a good possibility that I might be.)

princesssaurora said...

Thanks for the info... I already have the eclipse on the calendar!  The boys are so excited!

be well,

madcobug said...

Well if it were tonight I would be up and see it as I can't sleep. To bad it isn't LOL. Thanks for all that info. Helen

nightmaremom said...

Ohhhh I hope you send a reminder... I will forget and I'd love to set my alarm.. nut that I am

pharmolo said...

Looks like W. Europe is going to miss out on that eclipse :-\

Jupiter should be very low in our skies, bearing in mind our high latitude, but I've already captured it some weeks back.

Thanks 4 reminder, Cathy

ma24179 said...

I will be getting up early Aug 28. - Missy

gazker said...

I remember sailing up the Nile, we lay on the deck at midnight. Not a cloud in the sky an NO light pollution........ I have never seen so many stars or never seen so many shooting stars either......... Stunning!

mutualaide said...

August is a favorite time of sky watching for me.  With the naked eye I can choose see Jupiter and know that all is right with the universe ... for that moment anyway!

attitudeslc said...

OK you live close enough!  Next time something big happens we can stay up and sit in the hot tub and watch it togehter!  I was up late that night and watched too!  I did miss the lunar eclipse though.  :::pout:::