Jupiter visible in daylight this week
Posted March 18, 2013
You've probably seen the moon during the day but have you spotted a planet? The remainder of March offers a good opportunity to see Jupiter in daylight.
From mid-afternoon through sunset, Jupiter will be high in the sky limiting the amount of atmosphere you are looking through. This minimizes the light that has already traveled 44 minutes from Jupiter from being scattered by our atmosphere before it can make it to your eye.
To find Jupiter, first locate the crescent moon nearly overhead in the late afternoon sky. The moon's lit half will point toward the Sun.
Follow that line between the moon and sun, looking for a small dot in the sky – that's Jupiter. If you continue to watch the skies as they get darker, the first star you'll see appear near Jupiter is the reddish Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus.
On Tuesday, Jupiter will be about 22 degrees from the moon. An easy way to measure a distance like that is to extend your outspread hand to the sky. Your thumb and pinkie span about 18 degrees. This works with children through adults.
Jupiter will be in roughly the same spot in the southwestern sky around sunset for the rest of March with the Moon moving further away each night.
Tony Rice is a volunteer in the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program and software engineer at Cisco Systems. You can follow him on twitter @rtphokie.