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Jupiter at Opposition

6 Jan 2014, 07:01 UTC
Jupiter at Opposition
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Date: Jan 5 and beyond Time: 6:30 pm (1 hour after sunset) Place: the eastern sky
Jupiter reaches opposition on Jan 5, 2014. It will be well placed for observation during all of January and February, residing in the constellation Gemini.This is what opposition means:

Jupiter, Earth, and the Sun are approximately collinear, with Earth in the middle.
Jupiter is at its closest approach to Earth: 630 million km (390 million miles).
Jupiter appears very large, even in binoculars, with an apparent size of 0.01° (1/50 a Full Moon).
Jupiter is very bright, shining at magnitude -2.7.
Jupiter is up all night, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise.

The configuration shown in the chart is what you’ll see in the east about an hour after sunset. As the night goes on, this grouping rises higher, crossing the meridian around midnight. If you look for it in the west when you get up in the morning, the grouping in the chart will be flipped upside-down. Whenever you look for Jupiter, it’ll be easy to spot — it’s the brightest object in that group of constellations.
And for this 2014 opposition, as it crosses the meridian, Jupiter and company will be ...

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