Jupiter has not been this close since 1963. The planet will be extremely bright

“Other than the Moon, Jupiter should be one of the brightest objects in the night sky. If not the brightest,” said astrophysicist Adam Kobelski from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in a statement quoted by The Independent.

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Astronomy popularizer Petr Horálek from the Institute of Physics of the University of Silesia in Opava confirmed to Novinkám that this is indeed the closest approach of this most massive planet of the Solar System to us in the last six decades.

A rare connection with the opposition

“Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth during this opposition will occur on Monday, September 26 at 4:00 a.m. CET, the distance will be 3.953 AU (astronomical units), i.e. 591.4 million km,” Pavel Suchan, press secretary of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, explained to Novinky. The body was last this close in 1963.

Its opposition with the Sun will then occur on the same day at 10 p.m. CEST. Astronomers call opposition the position when, from the point of view of observers, a celestial body is exactly on the other side of the sky than the Sun.

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As NASA notes on its website, Jupiter enters this opposition every 13 months, making the planet appear larger and brighter than at other times. And Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition. This year’s views of the planet should be “extraordinary”, according to NASA.

The closest approach occurs because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles – that is, the planets pass each other at different distances during the year. According to NASA, this planet is about 965 million kilometers away from Earth at its farthest point.

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According to Suchan, Jupiter will be well-observable from our territory, because on Monday it will be exactly in opposition with the Sun. “So that means it’s observable throughout the night. But we are used to seeing Jupiter in the sky for many weeks, it just didn’t rise right away in the evening with sunset,” the astronomer noted.

“With a high-quality telescope, the characteristic stripes or bands of the planet should be visible, as well as three or four so-called Galileo moons,” astrophysicist Kobelski adds to the general information.

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Jupiter has 53 named moons, but researchers believe we have actually discovered 79 of them. The four largest – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – are called the Galilean or Galilean moons. The legendary Tuscan astronomer Galileo Galilei first observed these moons in 1610.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Jupiter close planet extremely bright

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