Saturday, April 8, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Jupiter Is NOT Stupider

Jupiter (NASA - public domain)
by Peggy Robin

Jupiter will be super bright tonight. On Friday and Saturday nights, Jupiter is “in opposition,” meaning that the sun, the earth and Jupiter are all neatly lined up, with the earth in the middle, resulting in Jupiter at its maximum brightness. There’s a wonderful explanation from the Capital Weather Gang below, and I recommend watching the two-minute video as well:
[Try this shortened link if the long link is broken:]

One of the nice bits of Jupiter trivia I’ve learned is that the “great red spot” of Jupiter is shrinking; it used to be larger than the diameter of the earth but not anymore. And it’s become rounder, too. It’s really amazing to see that spot through a telescope, and Saturday night should be a fine time to have a look. Even without a telescope, Jupiter is so bright that you can find it on a clear night sky. But there are lots of places around the region that you can go and look through a telescope, including observatories and astronomy clubs. Here’s a list:

Of course, we have a very famous telescope quite close to Cleveland Park – at the Naval Observatory on Massachusetts Avenue – but you can’t get in unless you booked your tour weeks in advance. They’re booking tours right now for May and June. Visitor information is here:

If you do manage to see the giant planet, see if you can do it without replaying the ubiquitous pop hit of 2009 in your head:
(“Drops of Jupiter”)

Final factoid: There’s nothing that rhymes with Jupiter...unless you accept “stupider” as the proper comparative form of “stupid.” (But we’re actually supposed to say “more stupid.”)


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

No comments:

Post a Comment