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The Moon and Jupiter journey together at twilight

The Moon passes just 4° to Jupiter’s upper right Thursday evening. The giant planet remains a great target all week.

MoonmeetsJupiter

Our lone natural satellite encounters the solar system’s largest planet in this 2013 image, where you can actually make out three of the four large moons of Jupiter. The Moon passes 4° from the gas giant Thursday evening. (Canon Rebel XSi DSLR, 300mm lens at f/6.3, ISO 800, 1/1000-second exposure)

John Chumack from Dayton, Ohio
The Moon moves eastward relative to the background stars at an average rate of about 13° per day. This motion carries it to a position 4° to Jupiter’s upper right this evening. 

The pretty pair will be on display from twilight until Jupiter sets around 9:30 p.m. local daylight time. 

Of course, the giant planet remains a conspicuous object all week. It currently shines at magnitude –1.9 and dominates the southwestern sky after Venus sets. 

Jupiter resides among the background stars of Libra the Scales; this evening, it lies 4° due east of Zubenelgenubi (Alpha [α] Librae). If you view the planet through a telescope, its disk spans 34" and displays spectacular cloud-top detail.

Plan observing targets for every night by catching up with Astronomy's The Sky This Week column.

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