A Rare Triple-Transit Across Jupiter Tonight – 1:28 a.m. to 2:12 a.m. EST – Early Live Observing At New Moon Telescopes & Livestream’ed From The Griffith Observatory

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

If the sight of the green fuzzy blob that is Comet Lovejoy has excited you these past few weeks, then tonight will knock your foot-warmer’ed socks off. A rare triple-transit is happening early-early this morning across the surface of Jupiter, when the moons Io, Callisto, and Europa will all have their shadows cast on Jupiter’s surface at the same time for about 24 minutes. Until we get some really-really good telescopes for the professional amateur, Jupiter is the only planet in the solar system for which triple transits are visible from Earth’s surface (because its four Galilean satellites – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are big enough to case prominent shadows). Those who sleep through tonight’s will have to hang out until March 20th of 2032 (or buy a space shuttle from NASA surplus).

The triplet transit across Jupiter, courtesy of the Griffith Observatory youtube channel.

For those willing to brave the not-as-cold-as-recently temperatures of West Monroe tonight, Ryan Goodson has graciously offered his clear zenith at New Moon Telescope HQ starting around 9:30 p.m. – early enough to catch some of the night’s best objects and see the first shadow, that of Callisto, hit Jupiter’s surface before those with sleep schedules retire for the evening. Provided the CNY skies hold out, we might even stay long enough to catch the triple’s beginning.

For those wanting directions, please contact Ryan Goodson (ryan@newmoontelescopes.com) or myself (Contact Page or info@cnyo.org).

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Ryan Goodson and the skies above NMT HQ, including a bright Jupiter above and Comet Lovejoy just at the treeline at right. Click for a larger view.

For those convinced that the rest of us are crazy for attempting anything like this before the first Spring thaw, I am pleased to report that the Griffith Observatory will be streaming the event real-time from their livestream.com channel (which means you can always watch it in the morning over iced coffee). You can watch it below right on the CNYO website or head on over to the Griffith Observatory livestream channel at new.livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV.

The timings for the event are listed below as provided direct from space.com (which I encourage you to check out for more details), all times Eastern.

10:11 p.m. Callisto’s shadow enters disk

11:35 p.m. Io’s shadow enters disk

11:55 p.m. Io enters disk

1:19 a.m. Callisto enters disk

1:28 a.m. Europa’s shadow enters disk, triple shadow transit begins

1:52 a.m. Io’s shadow leaves disk, triple shadow transit ends

2:08 a.m. Europa enters disk, triple satellite transit begins

2:12 a.m. Io leaves disk, triple satellite transit ends

3:00 a.m. Callisto’s shadow leaves disk

4:22 a.m. Europa’s shadow leaves disk

5:02 a.m. Europa leaves disk

6:02 a.m. Callisto leaves disk

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