Stargazers, look up! Jupiter will come close to Earth in 59 years on Monday for ‘extraordinary’ views – even though it’s 367 million miles away
- Jupiter will reach its closest point to Earth since 1963 on Monday evening
- At its closest point, the planet will be 367 million miles away from us
- The giant planet will rise in the east as the sun sets in the west – placing Jupiter and the sun on opposite sides of Earth
- One NASA scientist says: “With good binoculars, the band (at least the central band) and three or four Galilean satellites (satellites) should be visible.
Stargazers will be thoroughly entertained when Jupiter reaches its closest point to Earth since 1963 on Monday evening.
The giant planet, which will be 367 million miles away from us at its closest, will reach its end next week. This simply means that the planet will rise in the east as the sun sets in the west – placing Jupiter and the Sun on opposite sides of Earth.
The massive planet is about 600 million miles from Earth at its furthest point. Although opposition to Jupiter occurs every 13 months, it is unique.
Stargazers are in for a treat as Jupiter reaches its closest point to Earth since 1963 on Monday evening. Above: An image of Jupiter, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on June 27, 2019, showing the Great Red Spot, an Earth-sized storm that has been raging for hundreds of years
That’s because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the sun in perfect circles – which means they pass each other at different distances throughout the year.
It’s rare for Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth to coincide with opposition, meaning this year’s views will be “extraordinary,” according to NASA.
Although Jupiter is one of the few planets that can be seen with the naked eye, NASA still recommends the use of some kind of instrument.
Adam Kobelsky, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said in a statement.
The giant planet, which will be 367 million miles away from us at its closest, will reach its end next week. NASA recommends using a 4-inch binoculars or telescope for the best views
“The views should be great for a few days before and after September 26,” Kobelsky explained. So, take advantage of the good weather on either side of this date to enjoy. Outside the moon, it has to be one of the brightest (if not) things in the night sky. Above: As the moon rises over the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City on February 27, 2019, Jupiter, along with three of its largest moons, can be seen.
It is important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with 17th century optics. One of the basic needs will be the stable installation of whatever system you are using.
A 4-inch or larger telescope will allow observers to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail.
An ideal viewing spot would be at a high altitude in a dark, dry area, Kobelsky said.
“The views should be great for a few days before and after September 26,” Kobelsky explained. So, take advantage of the good weather on either side of this date to enjoy. Outside the moon, it has to be one of the brightest (if not) things in the night sky.
The US space agency notes that Jupiter has at least 53 identified moons, of the 79 believed to have been discovered in total, including the four largest: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter for six years – providing scientists with images and data about the giant planet’s atmosphere, structures and magnetic field ever since.
Juno’s mission was recently extended to 2025, or the end of the spacecraft’s life.
The Europa Clipper spacecraft, which will explore Jupiter’s moon known for its icy shell and vast ocean, is scheduled to launch in October 2024 and arrive at Jupiter in April 2030.
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