Jupiter which is the largest planet of the solar system will make a closest approach to Earth in 70 years on 26 September, NASA said in a blog post.
"Stargazers can expect excellent views of Jupiter the entire night of Monday, Sept. 26 when the giant planet reaches opposition," it said.
As per NASA, from the viewpoint of Earth’s surface, opposition happens when an astronomical object rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, placing the object and the Sun on opposite sides of Earth.
Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, making the planet appear larger and brighter than any other time of the year.
“But that’s not all. Jupiter will also make its closest approach to Earth in the last 70 years!," NASA said.
It further said that Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition as both the planet do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles – meaning the planets will pass each other at different distances throughout the year.
As per NASA, Jupiter will be approximately 365 million miles in distance from Earth. At its farthest point, the planet is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth.
As per Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, With good binoculars, the banding (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible.
Kobelski recommends 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 Sept. 26," Kobelski 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," he said.
Jupiter has 53 named moons, but scientists believe that 79 moons have been detected in total. The four largest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, are called the Galilean satellites. They are named after the man who first observed them in 1610, Galileo Galilei.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter for six years, is dedicated to exploring the planet’s surface and its moons. Juno’s mission was recently extended until 2025 or until the end of the spacecraft’s life.
Scientists believe studying Jupiter can lead to breakthrough discoveries about the formation of the solar system.
BDST: 1631 HRS, SEP 21, 2022