Beyond the Weather: The dance of Jupiter and the moon

Published: Jul. 11, 2019 at 3:24 PM CDT
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The upcoming weather pattern favors generally dry weather for Iowa. For outdoor activities, this is good news, including a chance to take time to look beyond the weather.

The next several nights, a naked eye view of the southern sky allows us to watch the moon and Jupiter doing a dance. Thursday night and Friday night, about two hours after sunset when darkness has fully descended, look to the south and find the moon. The moon is in the waxing gibbous phase. To the left of the moon, look for a bright light. This is the planet Jupiter. As you again look Saturday and Sunday at the same time, the moon will pass by Jupiter as the giant planet will now appear to the right.

Don’t confuse Jupiter with the star Antares, which is also bright. It’s just a little bit closer to the horizon than Jupiter in the southern sky.

At the bottom of this article are images showing what to look for.

One other note to make on your calendar is a partial lunar eclipse the night of July 16th. Unfortunately, you’ll have to view it through a live stream or photos, since it is not visible from North America.

Happy stargazing!

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