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This Week's Planet Roundup
6 years ago

Jupiter on Oct. 29, 2012

The Great Red Spot's side of Jupiter is busy indeed. On October 29th when Christopher Goshot this image from the Philippines, bright orange Oval BA and the little dark red dot following it had finished passing south of (above) the Great Red Spot. Huge turbulence roils the South Equatorial Belt behind the Great Red Spot, and in the midst of this, notice the tiny dark marking next to a bright little white outbreak.

The South Temperate Belt is barely visible along some of its length but prominent elsewhere. Four white ovals dot the South South Temperate Belt. On the north (lower) side of the planet, the North Equatorial and North Temperate belts have become cleanly separated by the North Tropical Zone's return to whiteness. An extremely wide blue festoon intrudes into the bright Equatorial Zone north of the Great Red Spot.

Mercury(magnitude –0.2) is having a poor evening apparition. Using binoculars, look for it about 30 minutes after sundown very low in the southwest, to the lower right of Mars and Antares.

Venus (magnitude –4.0, in Virgo) rises in darkness more than an hour before the first glimmer of dawn. By dawn it's shining brightly in the east.

Mars (magnitude +1.2, in Ophiuchus) remains low in the southwest in evening twilight. It's upper left of similar-looking Antares; they widen from 6° to 10° apart this week.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.7, in Taurus) rises in the east-northeast shortly after dark, with Aldebaran to its right. Above Aldebaran are the Pleiades.

Saturn is buried deep in the glow of sunrise.

Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) are in in good view in the south during evening. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.

All descriptions that relate to your horizon — including the words up, down, right, and left — are written for the world's mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) equals Universal Time (also known as UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours. Eastern Standard Time is UT minus 5 hours.

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