The Solar System’s largest planet is very much to the fore this month, big and bright in the constellation Cancer and currently highest in the sky to the south at 11 pm GMT (see our online feature and Object of the Month in the February issue of Astronomy Now magazine).
With the prospect of patchy clear skies for large parts of the British Isles tonight, most observers with medium to large telescopes stand a good chance of seeing at least a few of the following events happening on Jupiter, presented in chronological order. All stated times are in GMT.
Note: the computer simulations of the appearance of Jupiter and its Galilean moons are presented with north up and east to the left. Observers using Newtonian telescopes will need to rotate the images 180°, while refractor and Maksutov/Schmidt-Cassegrain owners using a star diagonal need to mirror the image left-right.
7:07 pm : Io begins transit of Jupiter
7:36 pm : Io’s shadow begins to cross Jupiter
7:36—7:59 pm : double shadow transit of Io and Callisto
7:59 pm : Callisto’s shadow leaves Jupiter’s disc
8:20 pm : Great Red Spot visible on Jupiter’s eastern limb
8:26—8:30 pm : Callisto partially occults Europa
9:24 pm : Io ends transit of Jupiter
9:53 pm : Io’s shadow leaves Jupiter’s disc
10:19 pm : transit of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot
10:20—10:23 pm : Io partially occults Europa
10:44—10:53 pm : Callisto eclipses Europa
11:02—11:06 pm : Io eclipses Europa
11:32 pm : Europa occulted by Jupiter
11:40—11:52 pm : Callisto eclipses Io
Inside the magazine
Jupiter is Object of the Month in the February edition of Astronomy Now where you can learn from the experts how to observe, draw and image the planet.
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