© NASA/Cassini

Jupiter at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Jupiter
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The sky at

Jupiter will pass close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

At closest approach, Jupiter will appear at a separation of only 0°31' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

At around the same time, Jupiter will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 6.07 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If Jupiter could be observed at this time, it would appear at its smallest and faintest on account of its large distance. It would measure 31.8 arcsec in diameter.

Jupiter
Jupiter at opposition
Jupiter
Jupiter at solar conjunction

A comparison of the size of Jupiter as seen at opposition and at solar conjunction.

Over following weeks and months, Jupiter will re-emerge to the west of the Sun, gradually becoming visible for ever-longer periods in the pre-dawn sky. After around six months, it will reach opposition, when it will be visible for virtually the whole night. A chart of the path of Jupiter across the sky in 2021 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of Jupiter at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Jupiter 20h46m30s -18°29' Capricornus 31.8"
Sun 20h45m -17°59' Capricornus 32'28"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 28 January 2021
Sunrise
07:18
Sunset
17:26
Twilight ends
18:58
Twilight begins
05:46

15-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

99%

15 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:05 13:28 18:51
Venus 06:37 11:25 16:13
Moon 17:21 00:49 07:32
Mars 11:10 18:07 01:04
Jupiter 07:23 12:23 17:23
Saturn 07:11 12:07 17:04
All times shown in EST.

Warning

Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

28 Jan 2021  –  Jupiter at solar conjunction
20 Jun 2021  –  Jupiter enters retrograde motion
19 Aug 2021  –  Jupiter at opposition
18 Oct 2021  –  Jupiter ends retrograde motion

Image credit

© NASA/Cassini

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