Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jupiter | Starscape . 1

Jupiter unmistakably rules the nightime skies in August. This gas giant - composed mainly of hydrogen but with a mass 2-1/2 times that of all the other planets combined - makes its closest approach to earth and burns its brightest on the 14th. It reaches its highest ascent in the heavens around midnight, glowing large and slightly orangish almost due south with little competition from the waning moon which will be new on the 20th.

Sky chart courtesy of Stellarium. South and the line of the horizon is at the bottom of the chart. Photo of Jupiter, to the left, is an EOS infrared telescopic image.