Slooh Space Camera To Broadcast Live Feeds Of Moon, Jupiter Dance
January 19, 2013

Slooh Space Camera To Broadcast Live Feeds Of Moon And Jupiter Dance

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

Update: January 19, 2013

On Monday evening, astronomers (both amateurs and pros) across the country will be looking up to the skies to witness the super close dance between Jupiter and the Moon. Slooh Space Camera will also be there broadcasting live feeds of the event, giving everyone a shot at seeing the chance encounter.

The waxing gibbous moon will appear about one degree south of Jupiter on Monday night, January 21. This will be the closest encounter between the pair until 2026. Another close dance will occur on March 17, but will not be as close as next week´s rendezvous.

Slooh will begin broadcasting the event on their site for free beginning Monday, January 21, at 6:00 p.m. EST, and will be accompanied by real-time discussions with Slooh president Patrick Paolucci, Astronomy magazine columnist Bob Berman, and astro-imager Matt Francis of the Prescott Observatory.

For added bonus, Jupiter´s Great Red Spot will be traveling across the middle of Jupiter´s disk during the live broadcast. Viewers of Slooh´s broadcast can watch the events on their PC or on their iOS and Android mobile devices.


Original Story: January 17, 2013

North Americans on the evening of January 21, 2013 will have a spectacular opportunity to catch a rendezvous between the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter, and our own natural satellite, the Moon. Depending on your location, you will have the chance to catch this evening dance anywhere from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Those in the Pacific time zone can catch the meeting at around 7 p.m.; the rendezvous occurs at 8:30 p.m. in Mountain, 10 p.m. in Central, and 11:30 p.m. in the Eastern time zone. During the dance, Jupiter will appear about a finger-width from the Moon. While they appear to be side-by-side, this is in fact not the case. The moon is a mere 250,000 miles from Earth and Jupiter is 1,700 times farther away in the background (about 425,000,000 miles away).

The moonlight dance can easily be seen with the naked eye, but will be much more visible with binoculars or a small, wide-field telescope at a magnification of 40× or lower.

For those with telescopes, additional treats may be at hand. Jupiter´s Great Red Spot will be visible from 9:00 to 10:40 p.m. EST, and its moon Europa will cross in front of the planet between 8:13 p.m. and 10:37 p.m. EST. The Jovian moon will be well camouflaged against its mother planet´s bright disk, but spotting it may be easier if one searches for the faint black shadow that will cross the face of Jupiter between 10:22 p.m. and 12:46 p.m. EST.

Sky & Telescope magazine´s associate editor, Tony Flanders, said not only will astronomers get to witness an evening rendezvous between the gas giant and the moon, but will “also get an opportunity to attempt an unusual feat: spotting Jupiter in the late afternoon, before the Sun sets.”

“First locate the Moon medium-high in the east; then look a few Moon-widths left or lower left of the Moon for Jupiter. It should be easy to spot with binoculars if the air is clear,” said Flanders in a statement on the magazine´s website.

Alan MacRobert, senior editor of Sky & Telescope, said the bright orange star Aldebaran will also make an appearance during the Jupiter/moon tango, shining brightly to the lower left.

“Binoculars show that the entire event takes place on the outskirts of the Hyades, the closest true star cluster to Earth,” said MacRobert. “The lovely Pleiades cluster lies nearby.”

If you are unable to get outside to see the evening rendezvous this Monday, January 21, do not despair; another chance meeting between the two celestial objects will occur again on March 17th for a St. Patty´s Day Jig.

Image Below: Jupiter dances with the Moon on the evening of January 21, 2013. This diagram shows the appearance of the pair from January 20th through January 23rd, looking south, high in the evening sky. Credit: Sky & Telescope magazine