For all you early birds out there, you’ll see something cool in the southeast!
In the early morning skies, the Moon and Jupiter will have a close conjunction in the sky, and all you need is a clear view of the southeastern sky to see it!
Starting around 2 am local time, the two objects will both be together above the horizon, and during the night hours the conjunction will best be seen around 5:30 am. The conjunction should be obvious as both objects are very bright!
Through binoculars or a telescope at low power (25x or less), you can catch both objects at the same time! Telescopes with short focal lengths and wide eyepieces will have no problem showing the conjunction!
Remember that even though they look close, they are millions of miles apart! While the Moon will be around 243,000 miles away, Jupiter will be over 507 MILLION miles away from Earth!
The two objects will be closest to each other at 14:30 UTC, or 6:30 am Pacific Time.
Both objects will be far enough away from the Sun’s glare, and should be bright enough to be seen together during the day as long as the Sun is low above the horizon.
So… What’s The Deal?
Why do the solar system objects like the Moon and planets sometimes “meet” in a conjunction?
From the perspective of those observing from Earth, The Sun, Moon, and planets all move along an imaginary line in the sky called the Ecliptic. The planets all trace their own paths along it and their apparent shifts vary due to their respective different orbital distances around the Sun.
Because all of the planets in our solar system orbit roughly along the same plane with respect to the Sun, they sometimes appear to align in the same patch of the smy from Earth’s perspective.
In this case, the Moon, it also moves along the ecliptic, and sometimes “meets” a planet on a given night. But it’s apparent motion in the sky is much faster than the planets, thus some locations on Earth will see a close meeting, while others won’t.
So There You Have It! During the predawn hours of February 27, be sure to check out the conjunction!
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