Watch the moon visit Jupiter in the sky on Friday (November 4)
On Friday, November 4, 2022, the Moon will share the same right ascension with Jupiter in an astronomical arrangement called a conjunction. The super-bright 10-day-old moon will appear just two degrees south of the Solar System’s largest planet.
At the same time, the month and Jupiter will be in the constellation Pisces and will also make a pulse – a term astronomers use to describe a close approach between two objects in the sky as perceived by observers on Earth.
The arrangement between the two will begin around 4:23 p.m. EDT (2023 GMT) and become visible in the New York evening sky around 6:06 p.m. EDT (2206 GMT) as the sky darkens, according to InTheSky.org. (opens in new tab)
It first appears 22 degrees above the horizon in the southeast, and the Moon/Jupiter conjunction will reach its highest point — 47 degrees above the southern horizon — at 9:58 PM EDT. The moon and Jupiter will still be visible until about 3:09 a.m. Saturday (November 5) when they dip below seven degrees above the western horizon. (Your fist at arm’s length corresponds to about ten degrees in the sky.)
During the conjunction, the Moon will have a magnitude of -12.5 and Jupiter will have a magnitude of -2.8, with a minus prefix indicating particularly bright objects in the sky above Earth.
The conjunction will be visible to the naked eye or binoculars from dark and clear sky areas. However, the close pairing of the moon and Jupiter is still too distant to be seen with a telescope.
Although the moon and Jupiter will appear close together in the night sky, they will remain separated by vast distances at Solar system. The fifth planet from the Sun, Jupiter is still 365 million miles (588 million kilometers) from Earth, at closest and farthest, the gas giant is 601 million miles (968 million km) away.
Because of this great distance, the visibility of the moon and Jupiter does not indicate their true size. Despite being dimmed, the gas giant planet greatly outshines the Moon. To illustrate this, it would take 50 moons to fill the volume of Earth, but it would take about 1300 Earths to fill the volume of Jupiter. This means that it would take as much as 65,000 months to fill the volume of the gas giant.
NASA adds that if the Earth were the size of a grape, the moon would be the size of a pea and would be as big as a basketball.
Besides being the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter also dominates the solar system in terms of mass. Although composed of dense gas, Jupiter’s mass is estimated to be at least twice that of all the other planets orbiting the Sun combined.
The next major astronomical event for Jupiter occurs on Saturday, December 7, when it lies opposite the Sun in the sky, an arrangement called opposition.
Editor’s note: If you take a photo of the moon and Jupiter and want to share it with Space.com readers, send your photos, comments, your name and location to [email protected]
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