Look, up in the sky! It’s a star! It’s a plane! It’s,.. it’s, Jupiter!
Yes, Jupiter. This distant orange planet looks very bright this week because it’s closer to Earth than it has been in over 50 years, so get out your binoculars and have a look before it moves off again, this is something special. If you see some tiny white specks around the planet, you’re looking at Jupiter’s orbiting moons…
I hope to get a picture of this gas giant with nothing more than an ordinary zoom lens in the next few days. Granted it won’t be a good or even a clear photo for that matter, but hey, I don’t have a telescope, and it’s Jupiter! Even though it’s close to earth right now, it’s still 592 million km away…
Last night was a clear night, so I pointed my long lens up at the sky and this is what I saw:
Here’s a crop of the same photo, with the planets and moons named:
I could see the moons through my binoculars as well, and if you want to see them too, tonight (Sep 27th) will be another good opportunity to have a look as a clear sky is once more in the forecast. The next chance like this will be in 2022.
Here’s one last shot, this time exposed not for the surrounding sky but for Jupiter itself, because Jupiter is so bright exposing the image like this renders all other objects near black:
As you can see, even at maximum zoom this huge orange gas giant is nothing more than a blurry dot in the middle of my sensor.