The planet Jupiter – largest planet in our solar system and second-brightest planet in our night sky – is now nearly at its closest to Earth for all of 2012. Earth will pass between the sun and Jupiter next week (Jupiter opposition December 2-3, 2012) and Jupiter will be closest to us the day before that (Jupiter closest December 1, 2012 – closer in fact than until 2021). So Jupiter, always very bright, is at its brightest around now! Plus, because it’s nearly opposite the sun from Earth, the November 2012 full moon appeared near Jupiter in the night sky. In fact, the moon has appeared near Jupiter for several nights, and if you look up on the nights of November 29 or 30, you’ll find Jupiter still as the brightest object near the moon. Here are some photos of the moon and Jupiter from EarthSky Facebook friends. We hope you enjoy them.
By the way, these just a few of the many fine Jupiter-moon photos posted over the past few days at EarthSky Facebook. I wish I could have posted them all! To see more, click on Recent Posts by Others on our page. Many, many thanks to all who posted.
Bottom line: Jupiter is closest to Earth for 2012 on December 1. Earth passes between the sun and Jupiter on December 2-3. In late November 2012, Jupiter appears as the bright object near the full moon. Enjoy these photos from EarthSky Facebook friends.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.