Astronomy Club Views Jupiter in Full Opposition

About 20 students and parents gathered on the rooftop astronomical observatory of The Montfort Academy to observe Jupiter in full opposition.  Opposition of a planet occurs when the planet, the earth, and the sun are in a perfect line, allowing the sun to shine directly on the planet.  Planets are brightest from earth when in opposition.  With a perfect, cloudless night, Jupiter was stunning.  At around 10:00 pm one by one students were able to peer into the telescope and observe not only the planet and its bronze and yellow cloud bands but also several of its moons. At the beginning of the viewing, only three of the four Galilean moons were visible as bright stars in a perfect line around the giant planet.  Students concluded, logically, that the fourth moon must be behind Jupiter.  By the end of the viewing, just 45 minutes later, the fourth moon began to emerge from behind Jupiter in its orbit around the planet.  The site was amazing.  Even Mr. Greco, school president and longtime amateur astronomer said he never saw such a beautiful site in space.  He said, “We actually saw the moon in motion, emerging from behind Jupiter, appearing to touch it and then move slightly away.” Sophomore Kevin Orozco commented how the Juno satellite currently orbiting Jupiter is changing some of our knowledge about Jupiter.  Vivian Davidson, Montfort alumna and 2015 class valedictorian, attended the viewing with her two brothers, Montfort sophomores Eddie and AJ.  Vivian is a longtime planetarian at the Hudson River Museum Planetarium, where Mr. Greco is a Trustee.  Vivian conducts live sky-tonight shows twice a month at the Planetarium.

 Jupiter with three orbiting moons.  Photo taken at Montfort on May 8, 2018 using school's Celestron telescope.  

Jupiter with three orbiting moons.  Photo taken at Montfort on May 8, 2018 using school's Celestron telescope.  

Marla Greco