© NASA/Cassini

Jupiter ends retrograde motion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Jupiter
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The sky at

Jupiter will reach the end of its retrograde motion, ending its westward movement through the constellations and returning to more usual eastward motion instead. This reversal of direction is a phenomenon that all the solar system's outer planets periodically undergo, a few months after they pass opposition.

The retrograde motion is caused by the Earth's own motion around the Sun. As the Earth circles the Sun, our perspective changes, and this causes the apparent positions of objects to move from side-to-side in the sky with a one-year period. This nodding motion is super-imposed on the planet's long-term eastward motion through the constellations.

The diagram below illustrates this. The grey dashed arrow shows the Earth's sight-line to the planet, and the diagram on the right shows the planet's apparently movement across the sky as seen from the Earth:


The retrograde motion of a planet in the outer solar system. Not drawn to scale.

2024–2025 apparition of Jupiter

08 Oct 2024 – Jupiter enters retrograde motion
06 Dec 2024 – Jupiter at perigee
07 Dec 2024 – Jupiter at opposition
04 Feb 2025 – Jupiter ends retrograde motion

Observing Jupiter

Jupiter leaves retrograde motion as its 2024–2025 apparition comes to an end, although it will remain visible for some weeks in the dusk sky.

Its celestial coordinates as it leaves retrograde motion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Jupiter 04h37m40s 21°36'N Taurus -2.5 42.0"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

From San Diego , it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:39 (PDT), 64° above your eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 19:24, 78° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 01:41, when it sinks below 7° above your western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

Over the following weeks, Jupiter will reach its highest point in the sky four minutes earlier each night, gradually disappearing into evening twilight.

The sky on 4 Feb 2025

The sky on 4 February 2025
Sunrise
06:38
Sunset
17:23
Twilight ends
18:47
Twilight begins
05:14

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

45%

6 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:38 11:50 17:01
Venus 08:34 14:43 20:51
Moon 10:19 17:22 00:33
Mars 14:54 22:11 05:28
Jupiter 12:22 19:24 02:26
Saturn 08:18 14:04 19:49
All times shown in PST.

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

04 Feb 2025  –  Jupiter ends retrograde motion
11 Nov 2025  –  Jupiter enters retrograde motion
10 Jan 2026  –  Jupiter at opposition
10 Mar 2026  –  Jupiter ends retrograde motion

Image credit

© NASA/Cassini

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32.72°N
117.16°W
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