Every year, a year and a month after last year, the giant planet Jupiter comes into what we call opposition.
He rises in the eastern sky, while the sun faces Jupiter in the western sky. This is when Jupiter and Earth are closest to each other and when Jupiter has maximum size and brightness from Earth.
Jupiter's opposition will take place this year on May 8, just as it does every 399 days, the various orbital velocities of Earth and Jupiter. While the earth orbits the sun every year; Jupiter needs 12 years to do the same.
At 21:30. Jupiter will be well above the eastern horizon at -2.5 to be unmistakable.
For telescope-viewers of the sky, Jupiter shows many details of its surface, including two dark equatorial belts that span the brighter zone at the planet's equator.] Alternating zones and belts can be seen from time to time between the equator and the poles when the Earth atmosphere stabilized, or if you look through larger telescopes.
Small telescopes and even binoculars show Jupiter's four bright moons. On May 8, Io, Europa, and Callisto line up on the eastern (left) side of Jupiter; while Ganymede will be alone on the right side of Jupiter.
Jupiter will command attention throughout the month because it will not time until dawn and because it's so bright. But Saturn also arrives at midnight on May 1
Saturn does not approach the brightness of Jupiter, but it outshines all nearby stars of Sagittarius around him and illuminates from +0.3 to +0.2 until May. Saturn will reach the opposition by the end of June, and it will brighten up even more to 0.0.
Saturn is always great through telescopes; even smaller areas show the Cassini division, a dark gap between the outer A-ring and the lighter B-ring in the Saturn ring system.
Meanwhile, Mars' appearance changes in May as it nears its resistance at the end of July. This opposition will bring Mars closer to Earth than it has in the past 15 years.
Mars will double in May, rising from -0.4 to -1.2. This makes it almost as bright as Sirius, the brightest star.
Mars rises under the stars of Sagittarius at 1:30 am, but moves eastward to Capricornus during his month, where he remains until August. 19659002] The Moon appears at different times during the month of May near several planets. Because the moon is so easily recognizable in our skies, it will help point to certain planets that we will seek.
A declining moon will appear thin on the morning of May 6 before dawn and above Mars. Crescent Moon will be below Venus in the western sky at dusk on May 17. The Venus will actually be easier to recognize, since it seems -3,9 in strength.
And an almost full moon (full moon is May 29th) appears over Jupiter at 2 am on May 27 and over Saturn on May 31.