Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Snow Moon and Jupiter

Tonight the early evening sky is bright with the full snow moon in the East accompanied by the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter.  Jupiter sits to the direct left of the snow moon early in the evening, and as the night proceeds, it follows our moon through its night time journey.  And just as cool, if you look in the opposite side of the sky you will see Venus shining bright in the Western sky. For more on this wonderful phenomenon, click HERE.

So what is so cool about Jupiter?  It is the largest planet in our solar system and it is 483,800,000 miles from the sun.  Think about that......we are seeing a planet that is millions of miles away from us yet it glows so very bright - it is the third brightest object in the night sky behind the moon and Venus, despite being so much farther away from us.  And it is huge - its radius is 43,441 miles, compared to the earth's radius of 3,959 miles.  And it takes the earth a year to orbit the sun, while it takes Jupiter 12 years!

It's just one more thing that makes life so rich and fascinating.

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