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Moon and Jupiter to present stunning sky show April 6

Moon and Jupiter to present stunning sky show April 6 Read more

Tonight for April 6, 2014

The first two celestial objects to light up the evening twilight on April 6 are the moon and the giant planet Jupiter. You should easily see both of them, starting at dusk, as these brilliant beauties rank as the brightest and second-brightest heavenly bodies in the April 2014 evening sky.

When it comes to Jupiter, remember the number 5. Jupiter is the fifth planet outward from the sun, residing a little more than five times the Earth’s distance from the sun. Today, Jupiter lies equally far from the sun and Earth: 5.2 astronomical units. The astronomical unit = the Earth/sun distance, which is approximately equal to 150,000,000 kilometers (93,000,000 miles).

This giant world rotates once upon its axis in a little less than ten hours. That’s truly astonishing. A point on the Earth’s equator rotates about 1,670 kilometers (1,040 miles) per hour. On Jupiter, it’s around 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles) per hour.

Contrasting the sizes of the moon and Earth (lower right), Earth and Jupiter (lower left) and Jupiter and the sun (upper right), and the sun, Jupiter and Earth (upper left)

Contrasting the sizes of the moon and Earth (lower right), Earth and Jupiter (lower left) and Jupiter and the sun (upper right), and the sun, Jupiter and Earth (upper left)

The giant planet Jupiter has a diameter that’s 11 times greater than Earth’s. However, Jupiter’s surface area is 121 times greater (11 x 11 = 121), and Jupiter’s volume is 1,331 times greater (11 x 11 x 11 = 1,331). Just to think, the sun’s diameter spans 10 Jupiter diameters.

Bottom line: Enjoy the spectacle in the evening sky after sunset on April 6, 2014, as the moon guides your eye to the giant planet Jupiter!

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Get your kids interested in astronomy and the sky! Use EarthSky’s lunar calendar as a fun way to enjoy the moon phases throughout the year.