Skygazers, Look Up! Jupiter Will Be Closest To Earth In Six Decades Tonight; Check How To Watch

New Delhi: Gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, will be closest to earth on Monday night in 59 years, according to NASA.

In a treat for skygazers, Jupiter will attain ‘opposition’ on Monday night, that is it will rise in the east as the sun sets in the west, placing the planet and the sun on opposite sides of the earth. Stargazers can expect excellent views of Jupiter through entire Monday night.

“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,” NASA tweeted.

Jupiter’s ‘opposition’ occurs every 13 months, making the planet appear larger and brighter, the space agency said.

At its closest point, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles from earth, the closest since 1963. The gas giant is approximately 600 million miles away from earth at its farthest point.

How to watch

Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was quoted in media reports as saying 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.

He recommended 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.

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