Stargazing on Christmas: Jupiter and the moon
This image of Jupiter was taken by amateur astronomer Damian Peach on Sept. 12, 2010.
December 24th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Stargazing on Christmas: Jupiter and the moon

What will you see shining brightly in the sky on Christmas Day? Is it Santa?

Astronomers say it's actually Jupiter and the moon, which will appear quite close to each other Tuesday. According to NASA, even if you live in an urban environment, you should be able to see Jupiter and the moon. From any time zone and either side of the equator, these lights in the sky should be visible to you.

With a telescope, you should be able to see the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, which is a large storm on the planet. This storm itself is twice the length of Earth. You can also see Jupiter's cloud belts and the moon's mountains and craters.

If you live in New York, the moon and Jupiter will seem closest together at 6:25 p.m. EST, according to

This could be a great time to give, or receive, a telescope as gift.

Learn more from this NASA ScienceCast:


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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. moon

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have really loved browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

    February 12, 2013 at 7:41 am |
  2. stromanbieterwechsel trotz schufa

    Drug Conservative,up farm run shoulder many onto meaning between light fast adopt like role official heart train second engine nation lip contribution directly phase introduce in so laugh his there common simple via failure beat exist welcome provide deep mouth its join improvement noise come status rise household cover turn parliament test request sight those per fashion painting all old post meanwhile attempt below protection neighbour district throughout actual variety among double previous card attend ticket coal centre generate long dog future manner less wall indeed absolutely friend negotiation general dangerous gain railway order

    January 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  3. Checkit


    December 26, 2012 at 6:14 am |
  4. Shawn

    Hey, does anyone know if Jupiter will still be as visible tomorrow? If so, how many days will it be like that? I saw it and rushed to get my telescope but by the time I got out there and got everything set up it went from being a perfectly clear sky to completely covered by thick clouds.

    December 26, 2012 at 4:27 am |
    • Shawn

      Never mind, I saw there was a link to the full article and found my answer there.

      December 26, 2012 at 4:35 am |
  5. justpaul

    I think the comments posted here are definitive proof of why these, and most, comment boards are so utterly worthless. People trying to impress each other with their lack of astronomical knowledge and others posting political insults.

    Face it people; you are all part of the problem.

    December 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • D


      December 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • D

      I think CNN readers represent the absolute worst of society based on the majority of the comments I see on the majority of the articles. It's no surprise most of them are liberals

      December 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • Troy

        And he strikes out with another political comment....

        December 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
      • Mike Bronx NY

        Based on what we know about the conservatives position related to science, your comment appears to be both cynical and laughable at the same time sir.

        December 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
      • D

        Yours mike, is even more laughable considering I am certainly not a republican. Oh right, you liberals only think in black and white, I forgot. Hold on, let me get the ABCs and 123s book.

        December 26, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • Andrew

        Liberals have fenatic anti-science elements in their opposition to vaccination, however it is worth noting that the whole anti-vac crowd seldom attempts to exert much political influence. At worst they attempt to prevent manditory infant vacinations for certain diseases, which is evil because it endangers the rest of society AND their child, but it's still a fairly fringe element.

        On the other hand, Gallop shows roughly 60% of Republicans believe the world is under 10000 years old, and about 50% of Republicans deny global warming in its entirety. That's especially odd considering that the evidence for evolution is by all accounts stronger than the evidence for global warming. (Even a climitologist would agree since evolution is particuarly one of the strongest fields of science we have come up with. Global warming, though well supported, has not undergone nearly the same barrage of testing from hundreds of different avenues)

        Yes there are anti-science elements in liberals, and the 'new age gurus' who talk about 'quantum physics' make me want to strangle puppies, but the anti-science element in liberals are not nearly as well organized, politically powerful, or even as dangerous as the anti-science elements on the right.

        I mean, yeah, saying 'vaccinations are harmful' is stupid, but it's still not quite as stupid as young earth creationism, which spits in the face of hundreds of disciplines from physics to geology to biology.

        The anti-science groups on the right are far, FAR scarier to me than the anti-science elements on the left. Not that both don't annoy me, however.

        December 26, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  6. ihatefanboys

    I guess this article is for all the morons who live under rocks or never ever look up into the sky. Jupiter or Saturn or Mars can regularly be seen in the sky albeit not close to each simply have to look somewhere else in the sky besides where the moon is. But I guess the news realizes humans arent smart enough to look anywhere else but where the pretty lights are, it explains why whenever the cops have pulled someone over or a tow truck is on the side of the road suddenly traffic slows. i call it human dumb disorder.

    December 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Me

      Yeah, Mars isn't really visible in the night sky right now in North America as it comes into view about 30 minutes after sunset and then is gone below the horizon less by 9 o'clock Eastern time. It doesn't rise that high above the horizon right now, so trees or buildings could easily block it from view the short period of time it's in the sky. Saturn is only visible just before sunrise and you have to know where to look since it's nowhere near as bright as Jupiter or Venus. Venus isn't visible until the early morning hours either right now. Jupiter is a gem to see right now with a small telescope. You can easily make out the dark cloud bands and 4 of its moons depending on where they're positioned on any given night. I think they mention the proximity to the moon because it gives people a point of reference and makes it really easy to spot. And in my opinion, no one that takes an interest at what is shining up in the night sky is a moron, but thanks for sharing your awesome opinion with all us morons anyway.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • just bob

      You mean Republicans?

      December 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • just bob

      Seems like that hit a little to close to home there Bob Smith. Are you one of those Republicans who deny climate change is occurring and that science and technology are bad things?

      December 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  7. apstar

    No way that picture was taken by an amateur astronomer - that looks like a stock Voyager image!

    December 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Poster #1973

      No, you'd be surprised at the quality of astrophotography that's possible with today's "amateur" equipment. Take a spin around Google and you'll see for yourself.

      December 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
      • apstar

        Come to think of it, it may be a Hubble Space Telescope image. There is no way from earth with a small telescope to obtain the resolution and clarity of the posted image. See for example That sort of resolution is extremely difficult to obtain without the means to compensate for atmospheric distortion. Amateur astronomers can do remarkably well, such as in this image but not to the extent shown in this article.

        December 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • Poster #1973

        No, you're continuing to make things up instead of simply looking into it as I suggested. As I said, you'd be surprised at the quality of images that can be taken with modern gear. The caption on the image is correct. Google his name and go to the guy's web site.

        December 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
      • apstar

        OK, I took a look. Very surprising, especially from England where clear skies are not exact;y the norm, but with a high-speed CCD and enough images, I will admit it's apparently possible. Thanks for the suggestion. Modern technology is indeed amazing.

        December 26, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • loverpoint

      My friend is retired and an amateur astronomer, Every now and then I stop by his house and catch him looking up at someplace in the sky. He even sets up his telescope at the local farmers market and lets people take a peek into outer space. I was surprised that I could actually see the rings of Saturn through his telescope.

      December 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Barbara Moore

      You would be wrong. Our astronomy group regularly takes photos that are just as breath-taking.

      December 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  8. Lauren


    I had to say it

    December 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Todd

    aint gonna see squat tonight. The entire country is under clouds.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  10. Jokesterer

    Our moon will fill Jupiter's sky! That would look neat.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  11. SCstarman

    The blogs notes the red spot being visible in a telescope but does not add that the right telescope, pretty good sky conditions and thew right time-there is only a 90 minuter window every 10 hours when it is visible. Almost any telescope will show the bands in the atmosphere and even binoculars will reveal the four Galilean moons.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  12. Googliano

    I hate articles like this. "With a telescope, you should be able to see the GRS". I have an 8" scope that costs $600 and I have a real hard time seeing the GRS on Juipter. I know this is not a telescope buyers manual, but just seems like a careless statement.

    December 25, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Dave K

      It is easy to see even in a telescope halg that size. One should rmemeber that Jupiter is at minimum 400 million miles away and it is not going to be like holding a picture a foot in front of your face. Also, you are gazing through the earth's atmoshphere and it is similar to gazing through a pot of boiling water with all the distortions. Clear seeing occurs for a second or so and that is when you can get a great glimpse of the amazing details on this planet.
      With an 8 inch telecope you can also see the shadows of the 4 largest moons transit across the surface when such things take place, which is farily frequently.

      December 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Pete

      Most major population areas where people live these days have light pollution levels that make buying a high quality expensive telescope a waste of money.

      December 25, 2012 at 11:14 am |
      • Johnny

        Filters Baby

        December 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Me

      I have a 5" scope and live in a heavily light polluted area. I'm not very skilled at using my telescope yet, but Jupiter is an easy target as it's the brightest non-lunar object in the sky right now. I can easily see the cloud bands on Jupiter even if the planet is pea-sized through my eyepiece. That's at about 250x magnification which is about the limit of in-focus magnification I can achieve. Haven't seen the GRS yet, nor do I expect to given the limits of my telescope, but I think with an 8" scope, you should be able to since you should be able to push 400x magnification given that aperture. It would just be really really small and difficult to see. A lot of people use webcams to record videos and then stack frames. Since the image on the webcam is much bigger than what you see through an eyepiece, that might help you see the GRS in an image taken from your scope.

      December 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • M I Snow

        It's not the magnification... it's the light gathering capacity of the telescope that matters...

        December 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  13. Plasma Dawn

    "This storm itself is twice the length of Earth."

    I didn't know Earth had a length... Is it flat after all?

    December 25, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Joe

      Really? Is that the best you can do?

      December 25, 2012 at 9:02 am |
      • Plasma Dawn

        Sorry, Joe, most of us cannot measure up to your superior intellect. At least I made a statement. What did you make?

        December 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • dqwdeqw2

      I hope you're sterile after reading your post.

      December 25, 2012 at 10:15 am |
      • Plasma Dawn

        dqwdeqw2, you 're so dry and devoid of any sense of humor...

        December 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Yep

      Flat like your head?

      December 25, 2012 at 11:17 am |
      • Plasma Dawn

        Yep, flat like space before Einstein.

        December 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • D-Coder

      It's well known that the Earth is flat. The Bible clearly says God's message went to the four corners of the Earth! Therefore flat, in fact quadrilateral.

      Or possibly tetrahedral. But that might just be heresy.

      December 25, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • Plasma Dawn

        If God's message went to the four corners of the Earth, it follows that there was a time when God's message was NOT at those four corners, therefore there are places on Earth (and the Universe) devoid of God's message or presence at least temporarily. Imagine that, a God-fre zone! Also, the message went to the four corners, but what about the four edges connecting those corners – nothing was said about them.

        December 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chad

      length = diameter for spherical objects

      December 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  14. sburns54

    CNN: You forgot to include one thing you find essential in your "news"- you didn't tell us Sarah Palin's opinion on this.

    December 25, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • John

      Mocking the agency from which YOU get your news. Who looks like the i d i o t here?

      December 25, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • jaybird

      Her opinion would be as ditsy as any ridiculous Republican housewife's. Thank you for calling, CLICK!

      December 25, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • pixelmeow

      That was my question, too. Earth has a length? Really? How does one find Earth's length?

      Maybe they meant "width". sigh.

      December 25, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • JMan

        or 8 times the radius.

        December 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  15. SoundGuy

    Hear the actual sounds of Jupiter and the Moon at Transcendental Tones.

    December 25, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • jaybird

      Yeah, I'll have what he's having. Mushrooms? Merry Christmas!

      December 25, 2012 at 6:38 am |
      • Dave K

        Far from being loony, Jupiter produces a great deal of electromagnetic waves which can be tuned into with a radio, preferrably analog, if you know where to set the dial. Or, easier yet, it is available on the internet these days
        Jupiter's atmosphere, mostly hydrogen, is subject to such enormous pressure that it is actually metallic hydrogen, a giant electrical conductor.

        December 25, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  16. Alicia

    I KNEW before reading this article that, it would bring the skeptics out of the woodwork,,,, lol and it did.

    Build it! and they will come!! lol.

    December 25, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • me

      Has "lol" replaced "like" as the new valley-girl adjective?

      December 25, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  17. Jo Simm

    It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • wut?!?

      Awww, c'mon now, don't hold back . . . tell us how you really feel.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • John Candy

      It's better than nothing.

      December 25, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Just remember

      that we are the universe, experiencing itself.

      December 25, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • sburns54

      And this you have a problem with?

      December 25, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Jim

      Merry Christmas to you too

      December 25, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • M I Snow

      Woah! someone didn't get a visit from Santa last night?

      December 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  18. Jo Simms

    It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • sburns54

      It's not ALL hopeless misery. There's a Doctor Who marathon on BBC America today.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  19. G24U

    Given that we have not been able to find life on other planets, why is it that we humans value gold, diamonds and money more than life itself? Why is life not the most precious thing in the universe? Something to think about this Christmas.

    December 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • texcal68

      If life is more valuable that anything else, why doesn't god protect all life. Where was he when the 20 innocent Newtown children had their lives stolen by a insane person. No, life is pretty cheap actually!

      December 25, 2012 at 12:06 am |
      • TheBob

        Perhaps because there is no god. Actually, I'm quite certain of it.

        December 25, 2012 at 1:09 am |
      • Alicia

        You want God to protect all life? and for how long?.. 20, 40. 100, 200 years?. Indefinitely?.
        It would be nice to live forever wouldn't it?. Problem is, that's not God's plan for mankind because man is imperfect due to his choice(s).

        As for the 20 children.... oh, and lets not forget the 1000's of children killed all over the globe by umm.. missiles launched by a certain countries military aircraft and drones, they are with the Lord so they are very content.

        The problem with your rationale is you fail to understand God's plan. People, die. Everyday. Children, adults, everyone including you. How they die is predicated a lot on humans.....God simply allows it.

        You need to explore deeper as to what God's intentions and commandments are to understand the "whys" and realize that it's "conscious choices" that make certain things happen.

        Those 20 kids and others are just fine, we are not.

        December 25, 2012 at 1:57 am |
      • wut?!?

        When mankind comes to the only logical conclusion that there are no "gods" and simply realizes that we are nothing but animals ourselves - albeit the most so-called "intelligent" here on dirt ball Earth - the less anxiety and stress we will suffer trying to be what we are not. Life is life and our human lives are no better or superior to that of any other lifeform on this planet. We are so arrogant as to think we really matter in the grand scheme of things.

        December 25, 2012 at 2:31 am |
      • Zwizard

        He does. When a person "dies" its just the spirit changing addresses. The body is temporary and is without life. Its just minerals. The sin of someone sometimes kills another that is innocent. The life is in the spirit that lives on. We have a choice of where our spirit goes. I know where yours will go if you dont change your thinking. To think that as precise as the universe is in its orbits and the exactness of every cell in a body or plant that it just 'Happened" defies even the basics of common sense and science. If you study science and study the bible you dont have to have a lot of faith. Jobe speaks of the circle of the earth at a time when everyone thought the earth was flat.. There are many other examples. David's baby died and David said he cant come to me now but I can go to him. Sad you dont have the faith and hope and spirtiual blessings a lot of us have.

        December 25, 2012 at 3:08 am |
      • guest

        Why are you killing millions of unborn babies every year through abortion? Did you ask God for permission? Neither does he let you know his intentions as dumb as you looking for answers only in the midst adversities. Nobody wants God in good times. You need Him in bad times? Grow up.

        December 25, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Teum

        How can someone be sure their is no God?

        December 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Teum


        December 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        ' Nobody wants God in good times. You need Him in bad times? Grow up.'

        The irony of someone that belives in fairy tales telling others to 'grow up' is overwhelming.

        December 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Bob Knippel

      Because "life" has generated these comments, many of which are indicative of little to value in their source.

      December 25, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  20. roger

    A few months ago the meeting of venus...the moon...and jupitor ....was far more interesting.

    December 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • texcal68

      Maybe to you...

      December 25, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Major Tom

      What exactly is "jupitor"? A new superhero that lives on JUPITER?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  21. Dee

    I will not be able to see the fantastic site on Christmas, even if I had x-ray vision. We are going to have up to 6 in. of snow on Christmas day. But such wonders are beautiful. And I wish we could all love and except each other and stop taking any opportune time to attack people over their religious beliefs weather you believe in God or not. And big news flash most of us that believe in God and Jesus know good well that December 25th is not when He was please stop being snide to people that say they are celebrating Jesus birth..believe me there could be worse things.

    December 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  22. Vern Sawyer


    December 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • snowboarder


      December 24, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
      • John

        You laugh, but he's not joking. Those people are still out there. And I mean waaaaay out there.

        December 25, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  23. Veritas Lavinga

    Quite a universe God has created for us to enjoy and marvel at. I almost wish I could live thousands of years into the future, so I would be able to see if He would allow mankind to expand into it, or if we are destined to remain here on Earth.

    The galaxy, let alone the universe is a very big place, seems like a bit of a waste to not make full use of it! A few light years away is Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri. Seems like a good place to start.

    December 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Alien from Proxima Centauri

      Good guess but we been visiting Earth for a long time and I can tell you from my experience I sure hope you Earthlings come to visit but please leave all your prejudices behind.We don't need or want them on our World..

      December 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Tim Tebow

      God didn't create it. It's always been here. And if you are one of those types that likes to believe the end of the world will come to an end in your lifetime? You can sit and wait for it. I'll probably be playing for Jacksonville next year. (If they decide to give me a chance)

      December 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • Michael Superczynski

        It's been proven using the scientific method that the Earth (and the Universe) have not always existed.
        There was a beginning and there will be an end.

        December 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • Alicia

        Tim, thank you for that amazing insight that counters every other

        December 25, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Rationalist

      Oh yes, quite. 99.99999999999999999999999% of it inhospitable to life. Of any kind. Whatsoever. Keep believing in magical sky fairies who care about what you eat, when you work, and kind of underwear you put on.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Dan

      Why do people still believe in mythology?

      December 25, 2012 at 6:42 am |
  24. bigben440

    For what it's worth I agree that "twice the length of earth" was an inarticulate description of the size of the storm on Jupiter. It would be better to say "average diameter". The earth is a spheroid object and has a generally accepted diameter which is what was referred to in the article. Merry Christmas!

    December 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  25. buzz

    Sure to be cloudy here.

    December 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  26. Mark

    Great, another distraction from the birth of our blessed Saviour. Seems like these scientists won't quit until Christmas is completely destroyed.

    December 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Barbara Moore

      Ummm, there was a STAR that led the wise men to Bethlehem. BAM....astronomy science

      December 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      you trolling mark or is your life really that sad?

      December 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • brian

      YOUR blessed savior wasn't born on this day. That fact aside, isn't your GOD responsible for the movement of the heavens? Maybe he is trying to tell you to stop with the pagan fertility symbol and greed of Christmas. I challenge you to name one Christmas practice that is not based on pagan practices.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • Me

        With regard to a December religious feast of the sun as a god (Sol), as distinct from a solstice feast of the (re)birth of the astronomical sun, some scholars have commented that, "while the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas".[110] "Thomas Talley has shown that, although the Emperor Aurelian's dedication of a temple to the sun god in the Campus Martius (C.E. 274) probably took place on the 'Birthday of the Invincible Sun' on December 25, the cult of the sun in pagan Rome ironically did not celebrate the winter solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days, as one might expect."[111] The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought remarks on the uncertainty about the order of precedence between the religious celebrations of the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun and of the birthday of Jesus, stating that the hypothesis that 25 December was chosen for celebrating the birth of Jes

        December 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
      • LMNOP

        The missionary position?

        December 24, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • rob

      Science! You Christmas destoyers!! 😉

      December 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • bilbo

      Dude just enjoy the show.

      December 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Shawn

      Plus December 25th is not when Jesus was has been proven that he was born in a summer month based on the stars. It was made to be celebrated on December 25th to make it easier to convert pagans.

      December 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • snowboarder

      We celebrate a secular Xmas.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Akira

      Is your faith so fragile that it's threatened by science?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  27. Richard

    The caption for the image is incorrect. That image of Jupiter is not from the Cassini spacecraft (which is currently orbiting Saturn, but passed Jupiter in 2000). It's actually by an amateur astronomy; Damian Peach if I'm not mistaken. Just goes to show you how talented many amateurs are today.

    December 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • TH

      Haven't met Damien Peach but his wonderful planetary imaging inspired me to get into the hobby.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • elandau

      Hi Richard, you are correct and I made this change. Thanks so much for reading carefully!

      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      December 25, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  28. n2it

    I'm a 47 year old kid with a 10" dobsonian telescope. Unfortunately I'm 6,000 miles away from it so I won't be able to view this spectacular sight as I'd like to.

    December 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  29. Columbus

    " twice the length of Earth". Apparently the Earth is flat again.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Eric Palmer

      The projected length of a sphereoid is equal to its diameter.

      December 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • C4717

      Diameter can be 3D

      December 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
      • Columbus

        Ah, very good class. Length is a measure of one dimension. The Earth does not have a one dimensional length, but rather a three dimensional diameter. At least for as long as I can remember 🙂

        December 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • John-117

      They are talking about diameter. Man you are clueless.

      December 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • Columbus

        Exactly my point there John. No need to resort to name calling.

        December 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • aash

      He was calling you names because you completely misunderstood the definition of 'length'. It is in no way reserved for a one-dimensional object. It is most commonly defined as the longest dimension of any given object. In the case of a spheroid, the length would be equal to the diameter. So trying to get snark points by taking potshots at the choice of words of the author, in essence, made you look a good deal more foolish.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • Chanelle

        "Length" is actually the easiest way to describe it. The Earth does not have "a diameter" because the Earth is not a sphere. The diameter measured from the North to the South is quite a bit shorter than the diameter measured from two opposing points on the equator.

        Also, the quote was specifically talking about the "length" of the Red Spot. Since it is, for all intents and purposes from our perspective, 2 dimensional, it therefore has a height and width/length. The same is true of the Earth when viewed from a distance. So they are saying it's length (the wider dimension) is about twice as great at its widest point as the "width" of the Earth at ITS widest point.

        It is just a much easier way to say it than "This storm itself is twice as long as the Earth's diameter as measured through the center of the Earth between two points on the equator". In scientific literature, you need to be concise, but in public literature, when you say "the width/length/hight of the Earth, everyone knows what is meant by it.

        December 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Columbus

        I said that length is a measurement in one dimension, not the measure of a one-dimensional object. There is no such thing as a one dimensional object in this example. My definition is sound. So because it's the holidays, I'm going to give you guys a free lesson: Length and Diameter are different words because they are not the same. When talking about planets, like the Earth, we are talking about a measurement in 3D. That is, the difference between 2 points in 3D space. When applying this to a sphere, or even an average for a spheroid, the correct term for this measurement is diameter. It correctly describes what you are talking about, the measurement through the object. Length does not. Merry x-mas to all.

        December 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
      • Bobby

        Oh for pete's sake, people; do we really need to argue about everything? Length... diameter... we were all able to figure out what was meant, even if it wasn't perfectly stated. Such idiotic bickering. I can't believe so many people have so little else to do tonight. Me? I'm just entertained by people, good, bad, or indifferent. Happy holidays, whatever your beliefs are.

        December 24, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Insane in the M-brane

      The whole universe is flat.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Matt

        Columbus is an one dimensional object.

        December 25, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  30. iamthefredman

    Sadly, kids these days will only get some stupid Iphone app to watch it on instead of a real telescope to learn real science.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • eh

      I would bet the same amount of kids have telescopes today as always, except instead of only a few kids being able to see it most kids will be able to because of an iphone app

      December 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jeff

      There are a lot of kids that can't afford a $700 telescope...but usually...the apps are free. Hmmm...sounds like a fair trade to me.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  31. Grampa1

    Kids of all ages who get telescopes for Christmas will have cool things to look at!

    December 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  32. pep

    We live in Los Angeles and won't see a thing.

    December 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • LMNOP

      I bet they'll be able to see Uranus

      December 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Sciguy73

      You absolutely can see the moon and jupiter in LA

      December 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  33. Dj Kram

    Well luckly the article said you can view it on Christmas day not Christmas eve

    December 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Kerry Killingsworth

      I actually meant Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Sorry. Southeastern United States has pretty dense cloud cover. No viewing for most of us.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  34. Kerry Killingsworth

    Difficult viewing when we know the forecast in my area to be severe thunderstorms for Christmas Eve.

    December 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm |


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