The Local Neighborhood: the Delight of Watching Jupiter

The wonder of the heavens for many observers falls into distance categories: the local solar system neighborhood, the galactic neighborhood, and outside the galaxy. For this time of year in 2010 the largest planet and brightest object outside earth’s orbit begins to rise in the east: the planet Jupiter. The complexity and variation among the planets and their moons attest to the greatness of our God. He said his heavens were good when he created them, but their positions and movements were also meant to be observed and appreciated. They show dramatic features that have become more obvious as satellites have been sent by many of them, but nothing is quite as exciting as seeing them yourself. Jupiter has long been a favorite for backyard observers because you can see some planetary detail and the largest of the moons with modest instruments. So the sketch is a simple one. There are many better sketches and many contain more detail, but this was my opportunity to observe the rising gas giant on a hazy summer night. As is our practice when we teach teachers to observe the created heavens, you will find a some text that gives the local conditions, time, equipment, and magnification. It is such a privilege to observe that I wanted to include a key portion of the Genesis scripture about the creation of the heavens.

If you are a newcomer to the skies, if you step outside about 2 hours after sunset, Jupiter is the brightest object rising in the east. With a binocular you can see it is not a star but a disk. With a small telescope you will see its moons, which change position rapidly from one day to the next. If you have at least a few inches of aperture with your instrument, you can begin to see the bands in the lethal and fast-moving atmosphere. But before you are done, make a brief sketch and some notes….and be thankful to be able to observe from a livable planet but see the local neighborhood! 

Jupiter -- The Neighborhood Giant

If you have opportunity, go to the inspiration page (top left story as of September 1, 2010) at to see an observation sketch and discussion about the Swan Nebula (M17). About the same time the Jupiter observation (above) was made, my wife and I observed M17 again, which is in the low southern skies at this time of year. Like Jupiter, the object has color and is very exciting to observe.   Roland


About Roland

We avidly enjoy teaching about and observing God's creation. We are active in Christian mission work that often takes us to the Philippines and Asia. the observation of God's creation in terms. Part of the outreach and work is to maintain a site: [or use]. This site includes inspirational blogs, free downloadable courses, and a history of the charity organization. We aim to share the love of Jesus Christ, who has graciously extended his love to us. Our faith is a walking faith, so faith and works, as much as we are able, are married together.
This entry was posted in art, astronomy, Bible, christian astronomy, creation, creation astronomy, God, heavens, planet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s