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Weekend Sky Show During the Day! Spot Jupiter and the Moon in Daylight

First Posted: Apr 13, 2013 07:45 AM EDT
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If you look to the skies this weekend, you may be in for a spectacular treat. Tomorrow, April 14, you could have the chance of seeing Jupiter during the daytime and join the ranks of people that have spotted the giant plant while the sun is in the sky.

During daylight, the sky can look like an unbroken swathe of blue on a clear, sunny day. This makes it difficult to pick out celestial features since there are no "markers" to go by. The night sky, in contrast, has the benefit of possessing constellations to navigate by.

Yet tomorrow, the moon will be up during the daytime, which makes all of the difference in the world. The day sky is, in fact, just as transparent in daylight as it is on a dark night. If you know exactly where to look and have something to focus your eyes on, you can see the brighter and larger planets in the blue sky.

So what planets can you see? You can spot Venus easily during the daytime. In fact, during Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration, large numbers of people in the crowd were able to see Venus over the Capitol Dome. Jupiter, which will be making an appearance tomorrow, is slightly more difficult to spot. It's further from the sun, which means that it's less well lit than Venus.

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Possessing dozens of moons and an enormous magnetic field, this stormy planet has bands of swirling cloud strips which are interrupted by the Great Red Spot. This specific phenomenon is not any static feature, but is instead a massive storm that has raged for hundreds of years on the planet.

When you're checking out the daylight sky tomorrow, remember to use some binoculars. First, locate the moon in the south-southeastern sky. Then look slightly above and to the left of the moon to spot the tiny speck of Jupiter. You should be able to see the planet even without the aid of binoculars once you locate it the first time.

Remember to be careful when you scan at the day sky, though. Looking at the sun directly could spell disaster for your eyes, so be aware of where your binoculars are pointed.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

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