Solar System Phenomena — Jupiter in 2019

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The chart shows the path of Jupiter across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +7.5 are shown. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint paths before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction.

The lower chart shows how the appearance of Jupiter changes over the year. Below each image is listed the date, the apparent magnitude, the apparent diameter of the disk (in arc-seconds) and the geocentric distance (in au). Note that Jupiter appears distinctly larger and brighter near the time of opposition.

A morning sky object for the first half of 2019, Jupiter outshines the stars of Ophiuchus for most of the year. Opposition, when the planet is at its closest and brightest, occurs in June, after which it moves into the evening sky. Its position on the celestial sphere makes for more favourable viewing the farther south you are on Earth but even the northern hemisphere will get some decent observations around mid-year. The largest planet in the solar system undergoes conjunction in December, making it increasingly difficult to see from from November onwards.

01 Januarymaximum declination north
22 Januaryplanetary conjunction: 2.4° south of Venus
30 January2.8° south of the Moon
27 February2.3° south of the Moon
14 Marchwest quadrature
27 March1.9° south of the Moon
10 Aprilstationary point: direct → retrograde
23 April1.6° south of the Moon
20 May1.7° south of the Moon
10 Juneopposition: magnitude −2.6, apparent diameter 46.0 arc-seconds
16 June2.0° south of the Moon
07 July2.3° south of the Moon
08 August2.5° south of the Moon
11 Auguststationary point: retrograde → direct
06 September2.3° south of the Moon
08 Septembereast quadrature
03 October1.9° south of the Moon
31 October1.3° south of the Moon
16 NovemberOphiuchusSagittarius
24 Novemberplanetary conjunction: 1.4° north of Venus
28 Novemberlunar occulation: 0.7° south of the Moon
08 Decembermaximum declination south
26 Decemberlunar occultation: 0.2° south of the Moon
27 Decemberconjunction: anti-transit

Because the orbits of the planets are tilted slightly to the plane of the ecliptic, a planet normally passes to the north or the south of the Sun at conjunction. However, if the planet is near a node (the place in the orbit where the planet crosses the ecliptic) when it reaches conjunction, the planet may appear to cross in front of or behind the disk of the Sun. This situation occurs in December when Jupiter actually passes behind the Sun from the vantage point of Earth. This type of conjunction is sometimes called an anti-transit or secondary eclipse.

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The dates, times and circumstances of all planetary and lunar phenomena were calculated from the JPL DE406 solar system ephemeris using the same rigorous methods that are employed in the compilation of publications such as The Astronomical Almanac.