(Posted 17 February 2013) This Monday (18 February 2013) Jupiter will either be occulted by the Moon or have an extremely close encounter with the Moon. Residents of Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth will be treated to the sight of Jupiter quickly fading from view as it disappears behind the unlit side of the Moon and then reappears sometime later on the sunlit (left) side of the Moon. Even a casual observer in the above cities without any optical aid (i.e. binoculars or telescope) looking at the Moon at the correct time will see Jupiter disappear from view.
The above chart shows the location of Jupiter in relationship to the Moon on the night of Monday 18 February 2013. Obervers in Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane will only see Jupiter have a close encounter with the Moon with closest approach around 11.08 pm AEST (add one hour if your location follows Daylight savings time). Astronomers refer to this type of close encounter as a conjunction.
|Adelaide||10.00 pm||10.37 pm|
|Hobart||10.21 pm||11.13 pm|
|Melbourne||10.33 pm||11.10 pm|
|Perth||7.39 pm||8.45 pm|
The above chart lists disappearance (or using astronomical terms an occultation) and reappearance times for Jupiter for Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth. Note that these times are NOT corrected for daylight savings time. Add one hour if you live in those cities and you are currently on Summer Time.
If you are lucky enough to live in Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne or Perth and own a telescope, don’t forget to watch the occultation using your telescope. The below Youtube video (by Rafael Defavari in Brazil) captures how amazing the occultation will look through a telescope.
Finally, if you have never seen a planet in the sky before, Jupiter’s very close encounter with the Moon will enable you to find Jupiter without any trouble. Jupiter appears to the unaided eye as a very bright star.