Monday night could turn out to be very special for stargazers. If the sky remains clear, people can watch Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system quite closely, when it comes closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit after 60 years. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Jupiter, which is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point, is set to come as near as 367 million miles today, making it an unmissable event for everyone.
Jupiter will reportedly be visible after 5:29 pm today and till 5:31 am on September 27. The next time the giant planet will come this close to the Earth after 107 years in 2129.
Stargazers: Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth in 59 years! Weather-permitting, expect excellent views on Sept. 26. A good pair of binoculars should be enough to catch some details; you’ll need a large telescope to see the Great Red Spot. https://t.co/qD5OiZX6ld pic.twitter.com/AMFYmC9NET— NASA (@NASA) September 23, 2022
Jupiter takes over 11 years to complete one revolution around the Sun. Tonight, it will be exactly opposite the Sun in its orbit. As per NASA, this unique arrangement makes it one of the brightest objects in the sky as seen from Earth.
WATCH JUPITER COME CLOSEST TO EARTH
According to Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with good binoculars, people can see the planet’s banding (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons).
Jupiter has 53 named moons, but scientists believe that 79 moons have been detected in total.
Kobelski said an ideal location to view Jupiter will be at a high elevation in a dark and dry area. “The views should be great for a few days before and after Sept. 26,” he said.
“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 added.