59 years after it last came close to Earth, Jupiter is at its closest point to our planet tonight. What makes this celestial event unmissable is the fact that it will not happen for another 107 years and, for most of us, we will not be able to see this unique planetary proximity again.
The largest planet in the solar system will be just 59 crore kilometers from Earth on Monday as it reaches planetary opposition to the Sun. Jupiter’s opposition is a location in its orbit, when the planet is completely opposite the Sun, making it brighter than usual in the night sky.
“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 since 1963 almost six decades ago,” Nasa said in a statement, adding that this happens because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles meaning the planets will pass each other at different distances throughout the year.
WHICH CITIES IN INDIA WILL JUPITER BE VISIBLE?
Jupiter will be visible throughout the country and people in almost every city will be able to see the bright object as it gets dark. The planet hasn’t been this close to Earth since 1963 and will not come closer till 2129.
HOW TO SEE JUPITER IN SKIES?
While the largest planet will be visible to the naked eye, you can look at it using either binoculars or telescopes. The celestial viewing will be aided by the fact that with the new moon appearing on Sunday, the moon on Monday will be only 17 per cent illuminated, adding to the clear visibility of Jupiter.
Try to find higher ground with open skies to watch Jupiter, and if you are watching using a telescope, make sure to have a stable mount. While a 60-90 mm telescope will be just fine to see the planet, a larger one is recommended if you want to see the planet’s unique features like the Great Red Spot.