Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
In January 2012 we hosted a Stargazing Live Jupiter Watch event at Queen's University Belfast, and participated in another SL event at Oxford Island. The event was a massive success with around 600 people visiting to take a look at the giant planet and its moons. In 2013 we did it again!
Last year marked the return of our public star-gazing event on the evening of Tuesday 7th January 2014, though this time we started by looking at the moon before turning to see Jupiter as it rose later in the evening.
The Astrophysics Research Center at Queen's University Belfast and the Irish Astronomical Association are proud to announce a Moon & Jupiter Watch on Tuesday 7 January 2014 in association with BBC Stargazing Live 2014. Come along after dark to the front of the iconic Lanyon building at Queen's, and use one of the telescopes there to view our nearest neighbour, the moon, before we turn our attention to catch the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter, as it rises later in the evening.
Visitors can view huge craters and mountain ranges on the moon, as well as the vast 'seas' formed by lava flows 3,800 million years old. As Jupiter rises, gaze at the clouds of a planet 11 times the diameter of the Earth and 318 times as massive. Also visible will be two of Jupiter's four largest moons - Europa and Callisto.
The Moon & Jupiter Watch event is free of charge, just turn up at any time between 6pm and 9pm!
Car parking is not available for this event, so we ask drivers to park their cars on one of the many streets nearby. This will minimise the risk of any accidents, and also ensure that visitors looking through the telescopes are not blinded by car headlights.
Please be aware that this event is subject to weather conditions on the night. If it rains or snows, the event will be cancelled - please check this website for updates prior to the event to avoid disappointment. If we go ahead but clouds appear, a public lecture will be held instead by Prof. Alan Fitzsimmons of the Astrophysics Research Centre about the Aurora (also known as the Northern and Southern Lights) starting at 7:00pm. Note that there are limited seats for the public lecture and people should register in advance (the event is still free). Visitors will be led to the Larmor Lecture Theatre.
If this whets your appetite for seeing much more through a telescope, the main public observing session in Northern Ireland for BBC Stargazing Live will be held on Thursday 9 January 2014 from 5.00pm at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. It will be hosted by the Irish Astronomical Association and Armagh Planetarium and will feature several members of ARC.
Both the Moon & Jupiter Watch as well as the stargazing session at the Ulster Folk Museum will hopefully take place under clear and cold skies. Please take care to wear plenty of warm clothing, including coats, hats, scarves and gloves.
To view photos from Jupiter Watch 2012 click here. Below we show what the Moon will look like through our telescopes on 7th January.