Friday, January 23, 2015



Something rare and beautiful is happening on Jupiter tonight. Between 11:30 pm EST on Friday, Jan. 23rd, and 3:00 am on Saturday, Jan. 24th, three of Jupiter's moons will cast their inky-black shadows on the cloudtops of the giant planet. Anyone in North America with clear skies and a backyard telescope can see the show. It'll look like this--times three:

"This is my shot of a single shadow transit from the night of January 8th," reports amateur astronomer John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio. "Call it my practice run!"
Chumack's photo shows the shadow of Io on the disk of Jupiter. On Jan. 23-24, that shadow will be joined by two others, cast by Callisto and Europa.
"The event is perfectly positioned for North America with all three shadows visible around 1:30 am EST," continues Chumack. "You will need a telescope at powers above 75x to see the shadows transiting visually, but when all 3 shadows are on the disk, you may be able to notice the dark spots in binoculars mounted on a tripod. After Friday night it won't happen again until 2032!"
How do you find Jupiter? You can't miss it. Located in the constellation Leo, the giant planet rises in the east just after sunset, and soars almost overhead at midnight, the brightest thing by far in its patch of sky. Enjoy the show!


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