Jupiter and the Moon

For those who missed seeing Jupiter and the Moon last night, here’s a picture:

Jupiter and the Moon

Sorry, it’s never going to be brilliant from a handheld camera. Shoulda grabbed my tripod — it worked quite well for the smiley in the sky a few years ago.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

5 replies on “Jupiter and the Moon”

last night we also witnessed a satellite cross the sky at about the time of that photo, although the orbit looked wrong …

@enno – seemed to progress from sw to ne, which puts it pretty oblique … unless it was a GPS satellite, but I’m not sure how visible those are anyway

You cannot see the GPS satellites.

You cannot see the communications satellites which sit in geostationary orbits 25,000 km above the equator. They are too far away.

The satellites you can see are in low earth orbit, about 200 km up. They are in almost circular orbits which are all tilted 30-50 degrees relative to the plane of the equator. Draw as they appear on a ‘flat” map of the world, their orbits look like a sine wave. Almost any satellite you see passing over Sydney or Mebourne, will appear to be going from NW to SE or from SW toward NE. There are a few in “polar” orbits which will go north-south.
It is actually impossible for a satellite to actually be passing from east to west, unless you are actually at the lattitude of it’s apparent turning point, which I guess is more likely in Melbourne than in Sydney.
So your feeling that an oblique orbit, as you put it, is unusual, is misguided.

There is a very good website which lists the times when satellites will pass by, and which way they will go. Called “Heavens Above”. The ISS and Tiangong are usually easy to see. I recommend it.

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