Saturn, Jupiter, and a cameo from Io

Last night marked Jupiter’s “opposition” – this is the time of year where Jupiter is at its closest point to Earth, and it’s at its biggest and brightest. By a stroke of luck, we had unusually clear skies for this event, and its moon Io was also crossing in front of Jupiter!

You can see Io and its shadow moving across the middle of Jupiter in the images below. Unfortunately there was more turbulence in the air around my telescope than I would have liked, and this limited the resolution of of the pictures I got. Saturn, for some reason, came out better. It’s not at opposition right now, but it’s close enough to get good images. It also reaches its highest point in they sky earlier in the evening than Jupiter, which is the best time to observe and image it. If I stayed up until 2 AM I may have been able to get similar quality on Jupiter, but I had an early morning meeting the next day!

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