A fam­ily por­trait

WHEN: 3, 5 and 12 June at the spec­i­fied times

Sky at Night Magazine - - THE SKY GUIDE -

Jupiter’s largest and bright­est moons, the Galilean satel­lites, can be eas­ily seen through a small tele­scope. The quar­tet ap­pear to pass back and forth ei­ther side of Jupiter, with only outer Cal­listo able to miss the planet’s disc when tilt con­di­tions are right.

The other three some­times pass in front of, and some­times be­hind, Jupiter’s disc. On 5 June, be­tween 21:48 and 23:49 BST (20:48 and 22:49 UT), there’s a chance to see the shad­ows cast by Io and Europa both cross­ing the disc at the same time. A sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion oc­curs on the night of 12/13 June, with both Io and Europa’s shad­ows cross­ing Jupiter be­tween 00:26 and 02:50 BST (23:26 and 01:50 UT).

Ear­lier in the month, on the 3rd, there is a sur­pris­ingly un­com­mon op­por­tu­nity to catch two moons close and west of the planet with the other two close to the east. This al­most per­fect fam­ily por­trait is fur­ther en­hanced by the Great Red Spot be­ing cen­trally po­si­tioned. There is a catch though, as this ar­range­ment oc­curs at 20:05 BST (19:05 UT), while the Sun is still up. From the UK, the best op­por­tu­nity oc­curs at 22:20 BST (21:20 UT) in a darker twi­light sky, when you should just catch Ganymede be­fore it starts to tran­sit.

Jupiter’s per­fect por­trait can be seen at 20:05 BST (top) though the sky may be too bright; if that’s the case, wait for darker skies (bot­tom)

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