Sunday, March 24, 2013

Seeing Jupiter in daylight

Until recently  I thought that the only planet visible in daylight is Venus. Although I was able to track Jupiter some minutes after sunrise, I didn't think it is possible to see it an hour or even more before sunset/after sunrise. However, reading this article in EarthSky proved me wrong and I immediately tried to carry out the suggested observation. Some notes and tips:
  1. You really need to use the moon as a guide to locate Jupiter. Jupiter is very dim and locating it with nothing to mark its whereabouts in the sky is extremely hard. Also it is easy to focus on the moon and then search for Jupiter.
  2. It is best to view Jupiter when it is 3 months behind/before the sun so when the sun is low, Jupiter is high in the sky (the angle between the sun and Jupiter is about 90 degrees).
  3. Although the article mentions that the best conditions occur once in 12 years, you should try and observe Jupiter in daylight even in not the greatest of conditions and at least once a year.
In my case It was easy to spot the moon and I was surprised to find Jupiter quite easily. Here are some quick snaps.
The moon in daylight

 You will need to enlarge the next photo. Jupiter is in the bottom right corner.

The moon and Jupiter in daylight