Jupiter the largest planet in our solar system will be in opposition from Earth’s surface in 59 years a potential treat for stargazers. Spectacular views of the gas giant will be available throughout the night of September 26, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). While a Jupiter opposition occurs every 13 months, this time will be different for some reason. Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth on Monday, coinciding with opposition. As a result, stargazers will have rare glimpses of the massive planet.
Jupiter will now be approximately 590 million km from Earth, the same as it was in 1963. At its furthest, Jupiter is over 965 million km from Earth. With good binoculars, the streaks (at least the middle belt) and three or four Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible,” said Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“It is important to remember that Galileo observed these moons through the lens of the 17th century. One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system you’re using,” Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said in a press release. To see the Great Red Spot and the belts of this massive planet in more detail, Kobelski recommended a larger telescope – A 4 inch or larger scope and some filters in the green to blue range would improve the visibility of these features.
The astronomer added that “views should be excellent for a few days before and after September 26. “So take advantage of the good weather either side of this date to observe. Outside of the Moon, it should be one of (if not) the brightest objects in the night sky.”