This Week’s Night Sky: See a Dramatic Eclipse—Off Jupiter
Two Jovian moons give a quick shadow show, and the Big Dipper points the way to distant galaxies.
Dark moonless nights this week promise great views of disappearing acts off Jupiter and of sparkling deep-sky treasures.
From 9:29 p.m. to 9:33 p.m. EDT, the shadow of the volcanic moon Io will darken its neighbor, ice-encrusted Europa, which will dim by as much as 2.3 magnitude.
The Beehive, or Messier 44, lies just 5 degrees northwest of Jupiter, which is equal to about the width of your three middle fingers when held at arm’s length.
Binoculars will show both planet and star cluster within the same field of view, but don’t let their apparent proximity to each other fool you. While Jupiter lies a respectable 41 light-minutes from Earth, the Beehive cluster sits nearly 600 light-years away. Taking up as much heavenly