Giant Jupiter has commenced its apparition in the predawn eastern sky following its conjunction behind the Sun on 2016 SEP 26. Western quadrature (90° from Sun) will be reached on 2017 JAN 11. Apparent retrograde motion in right ascension will start on FEB 06.
Opposition from the Sun will occur on 2017 APR 07 when Jupiter will be in the sky all night. At that time it will in the constellation Virgo at a declination of 5.7° south of the celestial equator. Its south pole will be tilted by 3.8° toward Earth. The orbital planes of its four great Galilean satellites will be similarly tilted. Greatest brilliance for this apparition is expected around that same date at stellar magnitude -2.5. Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth of 4.4549 AU will occur on APR 08 while subtending an equatorial angular diameter of 44.3 arcseconds.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension will resume on 2017 JUN 09. Eastern quadrature will be reached on JUL 05 before conjunction behind the Sun on OCT 26.
Jupiter will appear near other bright planets and stars on the following dates: Spica 2017 FEB 01, Spica SEP 11.
The Moon will appear near Jupiter on 2016 OCT 28, NOV 24, DEC 22, 2017 JAN 19, FEB 15, MAR 14, APR 10, MAY 07, JUN 03, JUL 01, JUL 28, AUG 25, SEP 22
NOTES: Events in this article are for North American Central Time.
Galilean satellite positions are calculated utilizing the high accuracy algorithm of Jay H. Lieske, NASA-JPL-Cal Tech-IAU.
* A meridian transit occurs when a celestial body crosses an observer’s local north-south line in the sky. That is practically simultaneous with culmination, i.e. the highest altitude for the day. The Jupiter meridian transit times in the above linked graph can be easily transformed for your location. The given times are nearly the same for the central meridians of all time zones, i.e. those evenly divisible by 15° such as 75°, 90°, 105° or 120°. Do not adjust to UT. Simply add to the chart time 4 minutes for each degree west of a central meridian, or subtract 4 minutes for each degree to the east. If on daylight savings time, add an hour.