Taurus and Jupiter - 2

During the winter of 2012/13, the planet Jupiter is visible as a brilliant white star in the constellation Taurus. Over the course of several months, Jupiter' position slowly changes against the background stars of Taurus.

The image above shows a wide angle view of the sky looking east about 8 pm local time on December 3. Orion has just risen (lower right) and above it is Taurus and Jupiter (near center) shining as a brilliant white star. To the right of Jupiter is the the v-shaped group of stars called the Hyades. The bright orange star in the Hyades is Aldebaran. Above Jupiter is a tiny dipper-shaped star cluster known as the Pleiades.

Jupiter's distance is currently 4.069 AU from Earth and 5.055 AU from the Sun. Since Jupiter is at opposition, it appears opposite from the Sun in the sky and it rises at sunset. Although Jupiter is visible all night, it appears highest in the sky at midnight.

The finder chart to the right is a close-up of Taurus. It has been rotated to (approximately) match the orientation of Taurus as it rises in the east (as in the image above).

For more images of Taurus and Jupiter, see image 1, image 2, and image 3.

Taurus is a Zodiacal constellation otherwise known as the Bull. It is one of the 48 Greek constellations originally described by the 2nd century astronomer Claudius Ptolemy (Wikipedia). Taurus remains one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union (Wikipedia).

For an almanac of other interesting sky happenings for each year, see Calendar of Astronomical Events.

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