An eerie glowing light will slowly trail beneath the moon tonight, following Earth’s natural satellite across the sky early in the morning and beyond sunrise.
But before you call the civilian volunteers at the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), or NASA, or your local police department or other government agency, know that meteorologist and Hayden Planetarium employee Joe Rao identified the object.
“The object in question is the largest planet in our solar system,” said Rao, “Jupiter.”
“Now that dazzling Venus is hidden between Earth and the sun, Jupiter is indeed the brightest ‘star’ in the night sky,” said Rao, who has served as an on-camera meteorologist for local New York news stations for years. stands.
If the weather is clear where you currently live, tonight will be a rare opportunity to see Jupiter at its brightest, with little celestial competition adding light to the darkness.
If the weather is clear where you live, tonight will be a rare opportunity to see Jupiter at its brightest, with little celestial competition adding light to the darkness. Above, Jupiter glowing under the moon earlier this month, captured by X (formerly Twitter) user @nakemushii
Jupiter will be brighter than the brightest star, Sirius, tonight. An astrophotographer, Andrew McCarthy, took advantage of Jupiter’s proximity around this time last year and captured the gas giant in such extraordinary detail that it resembles a marble floating in space
Astrophysicist and astrophotographer David Blanchflower took some photos of Jupiter and the moon in the UK at night, as well as a few photos of Jupiter’s largest moons
Jupiter is “currently shining at -2.4 magnitude,” Rao wrote in a column for Space. com this week “more than 2.5 times brighter than the brightest star, Sirius.”
Surrounding tonight’s “crescent” moon and blazing Jupiter, the constellation “Aries the Aries” will also glow faintly in the dark sky.
Jupiter’s orbit currently has it 40.2 light-minutes from Earth, and it won’t brighten in the night sky until mid-autumn, when it will be just 33.1 light-minutes away.
To find Jupiter tonight, Rao recommends extending your clenched fist at arm’s length and extending it toward the crescent first. Jupiter will be less than a quarter fist below and to the right of the moon.
JUPITER: THE BASE
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in our solar system.
It is a huge ball of gas made primarily of hydrogen and helium, with some heavy elements.
“Jupiter’s familiar streaks and swirls are actually cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium,” NASA said.
“Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm larger than Earth that has been raging for hundreds of years.”
The planet is twice the size of all the other planets combined, and the Great Red Spot alone is large enough to fit the entire Earth inside.
One spacecraft – NASA’s Juno orbiter – is currently exploring this giant world.
Facts and numbers
Distance to sun: 750 million kilometers
Orbit time: 12 years
Surface: 61.42 billion km²
Ray: 69,911 kilometers
Mass: 1,898 × ??10^27 kg (317.8 M?)
Length of the day: 0d 9h 56m
Mane: 53 with formal designations; countless additional moonlets
“Simply put,” said Rao, “you can’t miss it.”
While it will be visible tonight with the naked eye or good binoculars, Jupiter will look even better with a telescope.
According to Rao, the best time to observe Jupiter with a telescope or mounted binoculars is when it is at its highest and most stable point in the sky, about an hour or an hour and a half before sunrise.
Magnification also helps stargazers to see Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.
Across the Atlantic, astrophysicist and astrophotographer managed to photograph the eventas well as some of Jupiter’s moons and our own moon.
“Keep in mind that if you look at the moon relative to Jupiter, our natural satellite is only about 1.26 light seconds away from us,” in Rao’s estimate, “or more than 1,900 times closer than the more distant Jupiter.” ‘
The optical illusion of their proximity is sure to have many eyewitnesses reporting that a bright object appeared to follow the moon across the sky into the wee hours of tomorrow morning.
“I’m sure if the sky clears late Monday night,” Rao wrote on Space.com, “coming next Tuesday, I’m sure to take a lot of questions from people wanting to know what that ‘UFO’ under the sky was.” moon on Monday evening.’
“At least now you know what that ‘UFO’ is!” he joked.
Thanks to the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the angles involved in our planet’s orbit, the time your part of the world is likely to get its first glimpse of Jupiter tonight will vary not only by time zone, but also by your position. north or south of the equator.
For high northern latitudes, the moon will rise just before midnight tonight, August 7, with Jupiter in hot pursuit.
But for locations further south, their night flight will occur together on August 8, just after midnight.
Locations beyond the International Date Line, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, will see Jupiter and the moon even closer, but on August 9, just after midnight.
Go to to find the most accurate time for your area Google Play.