Jupiter’s Closest Approach to Earth in 59 Years: How to See it

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and its gaseous composition classifies it as one of the so-called outer planets, also known as giant planets or gaseous planets, which are distinguished by their asteroid belt and gaseous nature. Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are the other three planets included in this designation. 

This type of planet has a rotating period of around 10 hours, has powerful magnetic fields and a large number of satellites, and is surrounded by a ring system.

In the case of Jupiter, it should be noted that it is the fifth planet in terms of distance from the Sun, which makes it fairly distant from planet Earth. However, Jupiter’s immense capacity to shine means that it is occasionally visible from Earth. In fact, it is the second-brightest planet in the solar system, after the Moon, although Venus and Mars can also shine as brightly or even brighter. However, Venus and Mars are closer to Earth, and Mars is one of the most popular planets to be visited by humans in the hope of discovering a habitable world on the red planet.

Due to the same reason, it is uncommon to be able to view Jupiter clearly and brightly. However, on Monday, September 26, we will witness a truly remarkable event, as Jupiter will be at its closest approach to Earth. Earth has evolved over the past 59 years.

This is owing to the fact that on Monday, the opposition, a phenomena that occurs periodically and causes the planet to look larger and brighter than at any other time of the year and the perigee, the closest point in Earth’s orbit, will occur simultaneously.

This combination of the opposition causing the planet to appear larger and brighter than usual and the perigee bringing the star closest to Earth has not occurred since October 1963… 59 years ago.

Note that the competition occurs once every 13 months. If both Earth and Jupiter went in circular orbits around the Sun, they would always do so at the same distance. Due to the elliptical nature of the orbits, however, the distance between them varies greatly each time they meet. This makes the coincidence of these phenomena much more remarkable and causes Jupiter to appear much closer than usual, as well as larger and brighter. It would be great for additional James Webb Space Telescope photos of the planet taken by NASA.

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Despite how close, large, and dazzling Jupiter will be on Monday, some prerequisites must be met in order to observe it. On the one hand, it will be required for the sky to be as cloudless as possible. On the other side, it will be vital to choose a location with limited exposure to light, as obscurity will be essential for appreciating Jupiter’s contrasted brilliance. Yes, the best time to view the planet will be on the evening of Monday, August 26 or, if conditions permit, the afternoon of the same day.

Jupiter may be viewed without special equipment, but if you have something handy, it will enhance your experience.

If you are interested

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