Jupiter will be visible to the east at night once the sun hides to the west, NASA reported. This phenomenon has not occurred for 59 years.
Next Monday, September 26th, Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, approaches Earth so close that will be visible to the naked eye. The phenomenon is known as “opposition”..
In NASA’s words, “the opposition occurs when an astronomical object rises in the east while the sun sets in the westwhere the object and the sun are placed on opposite sides of the earth.
While this is a common phenomenon – since Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months – it hasn’t been as close as it is now since 1963, 59 years ago.
This happens because The opposition between the Sun and the giant planet does not always coincide with perigeethis is when Jupiter gets a little closer to Earth due to its not perfectly circular orbit.
“Jupiter will be approximately 590 million kilometers from Earth, about the same distance as it was in 1963,” NASA said in a statement. The planet is normally about 960 million kilometers from Earth.
How to see Jupiter on September 26?
As the space agency explained, Jupiter becomes visible at night once the sun hides in the west, so you’ll have to look the other side. To the east, the planet will stand out among the stars.
It’s only visible to the naked eye as a brighter than normal star, but experts suggest binoculars are enough to get a more detailed view.
Jupiter and Saturn. Looking east on these nights we see a very bright “star”, it’s Jupiter, and higher up, a little less bright, Saturn.
Photo with the mobile phone from the #elquivalley pic.twitter.com/REXxtYo7YY
— Seba Campos (@seba_sirius) September 21, 2022
“With good binoculars, the bands (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible,” Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told NASA.
“It is important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with 17th-century optics. One of the most important requirements will be a stable mount for whatever system you use,” he added.
Likewise, states that it will also be visible a few days before and after the 26th, albeit to a lesser extent. “Disregarding the moon, it should be one of the brightest objects in the night sky,” he concluded.