Jumping Jupiter! A rare chance to see this magnificent planet from your hot tub

June 8, 2019

June 8, 2019 – If you’re a lover of astronomy, a hot tub lover, or both, this week you’ve got a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an exciting cosmic display.

Jupiter, the largest known planet in the solar system (at least to us wee humans) will be viewable in the night sky this coming week. Earth will be flying between Jupiter and that big orange ball in the sky we sometimes get to see in the Northwest on June 10th. Jupiter, Earth and the Sun are in a straight line then, with Earth in the middle of its two interplanetary cousins. On its journey, Jupiter will be closest to us for a sighting on Wednesday, June 12th. Depending on where you are on the planet, your optimal viewing time will be different. You can check out the complete list of the best sighting time for you by visiting EarthSky’s site. Regardless of where you live, if you’ve got a clear sky, you should be able to take in Jupiter beginning at dusk until around 2 a.m.

Being the biggest and brightest planet, you might be able to pick it out with your eyes if you’re someone with outstanding vision (that’s not me!).  Some binoculars or a small telescope will afford you the best opportunity to take in the show. With any luck, you may also see a slight hint of the banded clouds that encircle it. Those bands are clouds of ammonia and water floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. You’ll likely also be able to take in its four largest moons. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spy the Great Red Spot on Jupiter’s planet, which seems to be shrinking now, based on recent data. The Great Red Spot is a giant storm that has been raging for hundreds of years—it’s actually larger than Earth!

Jupiter’s history goes all the way back to 1610. It was then that Galileo found the first moons and stars beyond Earth, changing how humans view their place in the universe.

Jupiter is a truly beautiful planet. If you’ve got a hot tub, this is such a marvelous way to enjoy both a soak and take in a stunning sky show. Fortunately, current weather forecasts indicate that our sky here in the Northwest will be mostly clear after midnight and should be an optimal time to seek out Jupiter.

With summer nearly here, this is a reminder how wonderful the nights can be for stargazing from your hot tub. The combination of both is hard to beat! Seize these precious moments and enjoy what nature has to offer.