A new apparition of Jupiter just began. Jupiter’s moons visually interact with the planet doing transits (crossing in front of Jupiter), occultations (passing behind Jupiter), eclipses (passing into Jupiter’s shadow) and shadow transits (the shadow of the moons pass across the Jupiter’s face). Every six years, this year, the moons also seem to interact with each other. These are called mutual events.

At this time, Jupiter is a morning event. But as the year progresses, it will rise earlier and earlier, and by year end, it will once again appear in our evening skies. Jupiter and its four Galilean moons are awesome telescope objects. They are even visible with a pair of binoculars that are mounted on a tripod for stability. They are small, and the moons are quite close to Jupiter, but they are there.

For information about public nights at the Insperity Observatory, go to humbleisd.net/observatory.

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.

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