618 days away
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed
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
|09 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|
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|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
From Cambridge , it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:20 (EDT), 57° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 19:20, 69° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 01:56, when it sinks below 7° above your western horizon.
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 04 Feb 2025
|The sky on 04 February 2025|
6 days old
All times shown in EST.
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.
|07 Dec 2024||– Jupiter at opposition|
|10 Jan 2026||– Jupiter at opposition|
|10 Feb 2027||– Jupiter at opposition|
|12 Mar 2028||– Jupiter at opposition|