Solar System Phenomena - Jupiter in 2018

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The chart shows the path of Jupiter across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +7.5 are shown. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month (the thirteenth circle representing 1 January next year) and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint path before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next year. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction.

Jupiter is easily the brightest object in the faint constellation Libra for much of the year. A morning sky object at the start of 2018, it has a picturesque encounter with Mars in early January. Opposition, when the planet is at its closest and brightest, occurs in July, after which is moves into the evening sky. Its position on the celestial sphere makes for more favourable viewing the farther south you are on Earth but even the northern hemisphere will get some decent observations around mid-year. The largest planet in the solar system undergoes conjunction in November, making it increasingly difficult to see from October to December, when it reappears in the east at dawn.

07 January0.2° north of Mars
10 Februarywest quadrature
09 Marchstationary point: direct → retrograde
09 Mayopposition (magnitude -2.5, apparent diameter 44.8 arc-seconds)
06 Julymaximum declination north
11 Julystationary point: retrograde → direct
06 Augusteast quadrature
19 NovemberLibraScorpius
26 Novemberconjunction
06 DecemberScorpiusOphiuchus
31 Decembermaximum declination south