Jupiter closest to Earth in 6 decades tomorrow, See how to watch
Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, will make its closest approach to Earth since 1963 – almost six decades ago, on Monday. The massive planet is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point.
The American Space Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) informed that the stargazers can expect excellent views of Jupiter the entire night of Monday, Sept. 26 when the giant planet reaches opposition.
Why will Jupiter coming closest to Earth?
Jupiter appears larger and brighter every 13 months than any other time of the year. But this time, the planet will also make its closest approach to Earth since 1963. This is happening because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles – meaning the planets will pass each other at different distances throughout the year.
Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, which means this year’s views will be extraordinary. At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles in distance from Earth, about the same distance it was in 1963.
How can we see Jupiter?
Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama said that the banding and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible with good binoculars.
“It’s important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with 17th century optics. One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system you use," Kobelski said in an official statement posted by NASA.
The reseacher further recommends a larger telescope to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail, a 4 inch-or-larger telescope and some filters in the green to blue range would enhance the visibility of these features.
According to Kobelski, an ideal viewing location will be at a high elevation in a dark and dry area.
“The views should be great for a few days before and after September 26. So, take advantage of good weather on either side of this date to take in the sight. Outside of the Moon, it should be one of the (if not the) brightest objects in the night sky," Kolbelski said.
Next major project for Jupiter
The next major project for Jupiter exploration is the Europa Clipper. This spacecraft will explore Jupiter’s iconic moon, Europa, which is known for its icy shell and vast ocean that lies beneath its surface.
NASA scientists aim to find whether Europa has conditions able to sustain life. Europa Clipper’s targeted launch is currently scheduled for no earlier than October 2024.
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