Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor

Since January, there have not been any planets to see in the evening sky. Instead, all five bright planets have been visible in the early hours before sunrise. But now Jupiter, the king of the planets, is making a return to the night.

Jupiter reaches opposition on Tuesday, March 8, which means that it sits in the opposite part of the sky to the sun. As the sun sets in the west, Jupiter will rise in the east and we will see the planet all night long.

By the time Jupiter is setting in the west, the sun will be rising and flooding the sky with light.

Opposition is the best time to see Jupiter, because not only is it visible throughout the night, but opposition also brings the planet closest to us. Jupiter will be shining at its best and brightest for the year.


The kings align

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is named after the Roman king of the gods. Just to the left (or west) of Jupiter is the bright star Regulus, a Latin name that means “little king”.

Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, the lion. You might even be able to see the lion’s mane – beginning with Regulus, look for a pattern of stars that traces out an upside-down question-mark.

image In the evening sky after sunset, Jupiter, king of the planets, can be seen near Regulus, the ‘little king’ star. Museum Victoria/Stellarium

Jupiter revealed

This July, we will begin to learn more about Jupiter than ever before. NASA’s spacecraft Juno has been travelling towards the planet since August 2011 and is set to arrive at its destination on July 4.

Juno will be the second spacecraft to enter orbit around Jupiter. The first was the Galileo spacecraft which was in orbit for eight years from 1995.

Juno is different because it will follow a polar orbit, enabling the spacecraft to map the entire planet during its one year mission. Each orbit, which lasts for 11 days, will take Juno as far out as the moon Callisto (which orbits almost 2 million kilometres from Jupiter) and then bring it plunging back in until its just 5,000 km above Jupiter’s cloud layers.

image Juno will soon shed light on Jupiter’s hidden secrets. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Juno’s mission is to better understand Jupiter’s internal structure and gain insights into how giant planets are formed. It will search for water in Jupiter’s atmosphere, probe to depths of 500km below the visible cloud tops, and will also measure changes in Jupiter’s gravitational field.

Unlike other NASA missions, which often get extended beyond their original timeframe, this won’t be possible for Juno. The spacecraft has to contend with Jupiter’s hazardous radiation belts (similar but much more energetic than the Van Allen belts that surround Earth).

Juno will probe Jupiter’s intense magnetic field which is about twenty times that of Earth and generates a magnetosphere that extends 150 times wider than Jupiter itself.

The tail of Jupiter’s magnetosphere is pushed all the way to Saturn’s orbit by the solar wind. It’s the largest structure in the solar system and a highly dangerous one.

By flying Juno so close to Jupiter, the spacecraft should weave through a gap that exists between the radiation belt and Jupiter’s atmosphere. But eventually radiation damage will render Juno uncontrollable and by early 2018, the spacecraft will be sent into Jupiter’s atmosphere to burn up like a meteor.

Jupiter has many secrets that are currently hidden below its cloudy surface. And while this would not have been known about in ancient times, nevertheless, it nicely parallels the mythical stories of the god Jupiter.

It is said that Jupiter would hide his mischievous ways under a veil of clouds. The one person who could peer through those clouds and see Jupiter’s true nature was his wife, the goddess Juno. Here’s hoping that the spacecraft Juno, will be just as successful.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/jupiter-returns-as-king-of-the-night-sky-55877

Writers Wanted

Physical Therapist Talks About This New Massage Gun On The Block - The HYDRAGUN


Too much information: the COVID work revolution has increased digital overload


Ammonite: the remarkable real science of Mary Anning and her fossils


The Conversation


Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co

4 Costly Mistake To Avoid When Subdividing Your Property

As a property developer or landowner, the first step in developing your land is subdividing it. You subdivide the property into several lots that you either rent, sell or award to shareholders. ...

News Co - avatar News Co

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion