|That bright star you've recently
noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all.
the solar system's ruling gas giant.
Bright Jupiter is nearing its December 3rd opposition when it will stand
opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky.
outshining yellowish Aldebaran, alpha star of Taurus, Jupiter
is centered in this skyview from November 14th, also featuring the
Pleiades and Hyades star clusters,
familiar celestial sights as the northern hemisphere winter approaches.
Sliding your cursor over the image will label the scene and identify
two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition in December.
Small and faint, asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres are about
10 degrees from Jupiter, near the left edge of the frame.
Of course, you can imagine
spacecraft in this field of view.
Having left Vesta
in September, Dawn's
ion engine is now
steadily driving it to match orbits with Ceres, scheduled to arrive
there in February 2015.