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March 7, 2016 - King of the Planets Meets King of the Jungle

King of the Planets Meets King of the Jungle  Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, averaging 140,000 km (87,000 mi) across—as wide as eleven Earths—and containing 320 times the mass of our planet. But being five times farther from the Sun than we are, Jupiter still looks like another bright star in the night sky; however, on Tuesday, March 8, Jupiter will be at opposition, positioned opposite the Sun as seen from Earth. It will rise at sunset, be at its closest to Earth, and will reflect the maximum amount of sunlight, so it will appear very bright, reaching magnitude -2.5 around local midnight. Jupiter will appear in the constellation Leo, and if you have even a small telescope or pair of binoculars, you should be able to spot its dark atmospheric bands and the Galilean moons alongside it.

Image credit: NASA / ESA / A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Weekly Calendar

March 7-13, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 7

Venus 4° south of Moon

1792: John Herschel born
1837: Henry Draper born
1962: OSO-1 launched
1969: Apollo 9 astronauts complete first solo flight of lunar module

Tuesday 8

New Moon 8:54 PM ET
Jupiter at opposition
Total solar eclipse (Asia, Astralasia)

1979: Active volcanoes found on Io
2001: STS-102 Discovery launched
2007: Orbital Express launched
2008: First Automated Transfer Vehicle launched

Moon phase Wednesday 9

1564: David Fabricius born
1934: Yuri Gagarin born, first human in space
1961: Sputnik 9 launched
1986: Vega 2 flies by Halley’s Comet

Moon phase Thursday 10

Moon at perigee
Uranus 1.9° north of Moon

1820: Royal Astronomical Society founded
1977: Rings discovered around Uranus
2006: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars

Moon phase Friday 11

1811: Urbain Le Verrier born
1965: Pioneer 5 launched
2008: STS-123 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 12

1835: Simon Newcomb born
1981: Victor Savinykh becomes 100th person to travel in space, Soyuz T-4 mission
2015: Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission launched

Moon phase Sunday 13

Daylight Saving Time begins 2:00am

1781: William Herschel discovers Uranus
1855: Percival Lowell born
1989: STS-29 Discovery launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.