Jupiter Returns to the Cape Point Evenings

Image of JupiterFor the first time in a while the skies are relatively clear tonight and I noticed that Jupiter has returned to our late evening skies. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and many believe that it is a failed star. It has all the elements in it to make a star, it just falls short of creating enough pressure to cause a chain reaction as in the Sun.
Jupiter is a gas giant and as such we can never land on its surface, even if we could live through the crushing gravity and intense radiation. However Jupiter has its own little solar system with many large moons orbiting it. I am lucky enough to have a small astronomical telescope, and through this I am able to observe some of the moons (although I am not sure which ones. On the highest magnification it is even possible to observe the bands of storms that continually circulate the planets atmosphere (although not the famous ‘eye’). If the night is very clear and you can get out of some of the light pollution then you can just make out some of the planets using a pair of binoculars.
If you have a radio with the capability then you can listen to Jupiter between 18 and 22 mhz, although you may mistake it for general static. To listen without a radio you can find a few examples on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3fqE01YYWs – this one sounds like Gregorian Monks).
Jupiter is rising at about 8.30 somewhere towards Gordons Bay (from my house it comes up from behind Trappies Kop) and you can’t miss it as it is by far the brightest thing in that part of the sky. Apparently September this year is the best time in many years to observe the planet so make the most of it while there is no moon to destroy what darkness there is.

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