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Jupiter will be closest to Earth in 59 years on Sep 26: When and how you can spot it

Varsha Vats
Varsha VatsSep 23, 2022 | 14:29

Jupiter will be closest to Earth in 59 years on Sep 26: When and how you can spot it

Jupiter. Photo: NASA

In a rare astronomical event, Jupiter will come closest to the Earth in a few days. The largest planet in the solar system had come this close to Earth 59 years back.

When will this happen? One can enjoy this event with binoculars the entire night on Monday (September 26). 

The best possible view: On September 26, Jupiter will come closest to Earth as well as reach opposition. An opposition happens when an astronomical object rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, placing the object and the Sun on opposite sides of Earth. In Jupiter's case, the opposition takes place every 13 months. This makes the planet appear larger and brighter than on other days of the year. 

This means this coincidence of two events taking place on the same day will offer an extraordinary view to the people on earth. 

Why are Earth and Juoiter coming close? This is supposed to happen because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles. So, the distance between the sun and the planets is different throughout the year. So, a time comes when Earth and Jupiter will revolute around the sun with minimum distance between them.

Jupiter is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point. During this event, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles away from Earth.
The two planets came this close in 1963 the last time.

How to see this event? Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama explained how one can spot this event.

“With good binoculars, the banding (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible. 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.”

To see the Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail, Kobelski recommends a larger telescope. The NASA website has also mentioned that “using a 4 inch-or-larger telescope and some filters in the green to blue range would enhance the visibility of these features.”

From where to see? Kobelski recommends viewing the event from 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,” Kobelski said.

Last updated: September 23, 2022 | 14:29
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