Giant Jupiter’s opposition from the Sun occurred on 2018 MAY 08-09 with Jupiter in the sky all night. At that time it was in the constellation Libra at a declination of 16.1° south of the celestial equator. Its south pole was tilted by 3.4° toward Earth. The orbital planes of its four great Galilean satellites are similarly tilted. Greatest brilliance for this apparition was expected around MAY 09 at stellar magnitude -2.5. Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth of 4.3998 AU occurred on MAY 10 while subtending an equatorial angular diameter of 44.8 arcseconds.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2018 JUL 10. Eastern quadrature was reached on AUG 06 before conjunction behind the Sun on NOV 26.
Jupiter will appear near Mercury 2018 OCT 29. It will not again appear near any other bright planets or first magnitude stars during this apparition.
The Moon will appear near Jupiter 2018 OCT 11 & NOV 08. There will be no lunar occultations of Jupiter during this apparition.
NOTES: Event dates in this article are for North American Central Time. Galilean satellite positions are calculated utilizing the high accuracy algorithm of Jay H. Lieske.
* 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.
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