The giant planet Jupiter in Gemini is the brightest “star” that currently appears
in our evening sky. It commenced apparent retrograde motion on 2013 NOV 07. Jupiter’s
closest approach to Earth for this synodic cycle at 4.2105 AU occurred on 2014 JAN
04 when its equatorial diameter subtended 46.8 arcsceconds. Opposition from the Sun
happened on JAN 05 when Jupiter was well north of the celestial equator at declination
+22.7° and was at its greatest brilliance for this cycle at magnitude -2.7. As viewed
from Earth the tilt of Jupiter’s equatorial plane at opposition appeared to be +1.6°.
The orbital planes of the four Galilean satellites are nearly coincident with it.
Jupiter resumed apparent direct motion on MAR 06 and will reach eastern quadrature
on APR 01. Conjunction behind the Sun will be achieved on JUL 24.
Jupiter will appear to pass near Pollux on 2014 JUN 16. The Moon will appear to
pass near Jupiter on 2014 MAR 10, APR 06, MAY 4, JUN 01 & JUN 29.
NOTE: Events in this article are geocentric in Universal Time unless otherwise noted.
* A meridian transit occurs when a celestial body crosses an observer’s local north-south
line in the sky. That is practically simultaneous with culmination, i.e. the highest
altitude for the day. The Jupiter meridian transit times in the above linked graph
can be easily transformed for your location. The given times are nearly the same
for the central meridians of all time zones, i.e. those evenly divisible by 15° such
as 75°, 90°, 105° or 120°. Do not adjust to UT. Simply add to the chart time 4 minutes
for each degree west of a central meridian, or subtract 4 minutes for each degree
to the east. If on daylight savings time, add an hour.