Observing Jupiter

I managed to get out my telescope and have a look at Jupiter early this morning. As you may or may not know, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system orbiting past Mars. It is composed mainly of an atmosphere of hydrogen, helium and other gases with a liquid layer and a most likely rocky core. Jupiter is currently just past opposition, which is when the Earth’s orbit is closest to the planet (best time for viewing). In the Sky Jupiter is apparent as a bright star:

sky

There was a bit of cloud cover which is bad news for viewing as the clouds blur and distort views beyond them. Through my telescope Jupiter looks like a bright circle and when focused and at a high enough magnification some cloud details become evident, particularly the two main brown bands near the equator. These are two of my attempts at photographing Jupiter through my telescope, sadly this is the part I’m not so great at 😦

jupiter1

The other apparent feature when looking at Jupiter is it’s Galilean moons (Jupiter’s four largest moons) which look like stars close to the planet and all on a similar plane. When overexposing Jupiter the moons become visible in the photo.

moons

On another note I noticed a Satellite in the sky and took a 20 second exposure of it. It turned out not to be the International Space Station, just one of the many unmanned satellites we have up there. At the time I took this it was directly over the south of Australia (west of Melbourne) and in about 8 minutes was due to be directly over Antarctica. Still pretty cool to think about.

sat

And now I feel like a big nerd but really chilled out and ready for bed. It’s a fascinating universe we live in.

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