Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, will be at its shortest distance from Earth in 59 years this Monday (26/09). This phenomenon occurs at this date when the gas giant reaches the point called opposition. From the perspective of the Earth’s surface, opposition occurs when an astronomical object rises in the east and the sun sets in the west, placing the object and the sun on opposite sides of our planet.
Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months. Making the planet look bigger and brighter than any other time of the year. This year the phenomenon will be special, as the gas giant will make its closest approach to Earth since 1963. Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in a complete circle, meaning the planets pass each other at different distances. each other all year round.
“Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, meaning this year’s viewing will be exceptional.”, NASA said in a statement. At its closest point, Jupiter will be about 590 million kilometers from Earth. At its furthest point from our planet, it is about 965 million kilometers away.
“With good binoculars, the bands (at least Jupiter’s central band) and three or four Galilean moons (moons) should be visible,” said NASA astronomer Adam Kobelski. “It is important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with seventeenth-century instruments,” he added. The researcher recommends searching for a high altitude location in a dark and dry area.
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