Jupiter will reach opposition, which means it will rise in the east as the sun sets in the west. This happens every 13 months and makes things in the sky look brighter and closer than usual.
NASA said, “Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely happens at the same time as opposition. This means that this year’s views will be amazing.”
In a blog post, NASA astronomer Adam Kobelski said, “Outside of the Moon, it should be one of the brightest things in the night sky.”
Because Earth and Jupiter don’t go around the Sun in perfect circles, Jupiter hasn’t been this close to Earth since 1963. Throughout the year, the planets pass each other at different distances.
When things on Earth are stressful, there’s nothing better than looking up at the stars, especially when something magical is going on nearby. And the next exciting event in the sky is about to start: Jupiter is about to come closer to Earth than it has in decades.
But when will Jupiter come the closest to Earth? In September 2022, how close will Jupiter be to Earth?
Jupiter’s Opposition In The Sky
Astronomers, get your telescopes ready. Tonight, Jupiter will reach opposition, and this year’s version of this event in the sky is a special one.
When seen from Earth, a planet is in opposition to the sun when it is on the opposite side of the sun from the planet. So, on Monday night, Jupiter will rise in the east while the sun sets in the west. This is a 180-degree difference. In other words, Earth is passing right between Jupiter and the sun.
The opposition of Jupiter happens every 13 months, so it’s not a very rare event. But this year’s opposition happens at the same time as Jupiter’s perihelion, which is when it is closest to the sun in its orbit.
NASA says that this is the closest Jupiter has been to Earth since 1963 when it was 367 million miles away. That may seem like a long way, but Jupiter can be up to 600 million miles away from Earth, so it’s actually pretty close tonight.
Visible Planets (Evening)
- Saturn is rising before sunset, so you can watch it all night long.
- Jupiter, which is brighter than all the stars, rises around sunset and can be seen all night. On September 26, Jupiter was in opposition.
- Mars will rise around 10 p.m., which is now before midnight. by the end of the month, local time.
Visible Planets (Morning)
- Mars and Jupiter are two bright planets that can be seen in the morning sky in September.
- Jupiter is far to the west before sunrise. After Venus, it is the second brightest planet.
- The best time to see Mars is in the early morning, an hour or two before sunrise. As it moves toward opposition on December 8, it’s getting brighter and redder.
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How To Find The Giant In The Sky?
If you go outside anytime between sunset and sunrise, you should be able to see Jupiter somewhere in the night sky. You can use the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Planets Visible Tonight calculator to find out when Jupiter will rise and set in your area.
According to EarthSky, it will be brighter than any other star in the night sky, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Just look to the east earlier in the evening and to the west closer to sunrise. You could also use an app like Star Walk 2 or SkyView, which can help you find the planet.
You can see Jupiter with the naked eye, but you should use binoculars or a telescope to see more details, like its red-and-white stripes, the Great Red Spot, and its biggest moons.
Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said in a blog post, “With good binoculars, the banding (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible.” “It’s important to remember that Galileo looked at these moons with equipment from the 1600s. No matter what system you use, you’ll need a stable mount.”
NASA says that the best place to see Jupiter at its best is in a dry, dark area at a high altitude. They suggest a good pair of binoculars, but if you want to see even better, you might want to look into a telescope on a stand.
But if you want to see more details, like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, Kobelski says to use a 4-inch telescope (or bigger) with green or blue filters if you want to see more. Also, think about a stable horse.
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