Kurt Zeppetello in Monroe, Connecticut, created this composite image of Jupiter and its moons on February 29, 2016. It’s timely because Earth will pass between Jupiter and the sun on March 8, bringing the planet to the place in our sky called opposition by astronomers. In other words, around the time we go between it and the sun, Jupiter is rising in the east as the sun sets in the west. It’s now visible all night, at its brightest for 2016. Kurt wrote:
After an imaging session and of course partially breaking down I noticed Jupiter rising over the trees of my backyard. So I went ahead and took some quick photos. I already put my computer and camera away but went back for the camera. The image is actually a combination of a short exposure (1/500s) image for Jupiter and a longer exposure (1/10s) image for the moons.
Thank you, Kurt!
This photo is especially interesting, by the way, because the moons are all on one side of Jupiter. You don’t always see them that way. As they orbit around Jupiter, they appear in an ever-changing array of configurations.
Click here for a Jupiter’s moons almanac, courtesy of Sky & Telescope.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded 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.