Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth in 59 years


On Monday, September 26, Jupiter will look bigger and brighter on the darling night. First, because the planet giant will reach opposition, which means that it will be at a point opposite the Sun from our perspective, a phenomenon that occurs every 13 months. But also, because Jupiter will make his closest approach to Earth in the last 59 years.

Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, which means this year’s views will be extraordinary, according to NASA. On Monday it will be about 590 million km from Earth, about the same distance as it was in 1963. At its furthest point, the huge planet is 965 million km away.

“With good binoculars, the bands (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible”says Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at the Marshall Space Flight Center of NASA in Huntsville, Alabama (USA). “It is important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with 17th-century optics. One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system is used.”he points out.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Kobelski recommends a larger telescope to view the famous Great Red Spot (a gigantic storm, larger than Earth, that lasts for hundreds of years) and the bands of Jupiter in more detail; a 4-inch or larger telescope and some filters in the green to blue range would improve visibility of these features.

According to Kobelski, the ideal for observing is to be at a high elevation in a dark, dry area. A few days before or after Monday is equally valid. Next to the Moon, Jupiter should be one of the brightest objects in the night sky, if not the brightest., point. In addition, with the help of binoculars or a telescope, its four largest moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, the so-called Galilean satellites – should appear as bright spots on both sides of the planet.

In space, the Juno ship Since 2016, NASA has been scrutinizing the planet, providing incredible images and data about its atmosphere and interior. Scientists believe that the study of Jupiter may lead to groundbreaking discoveries about the formation of the solar system. In 2024 at the latest, the space agency will launch another spacecraft called europe clipper, which will explore one of its moons, Europa. Known for its icy shell and the vast ocean below its surface, NASA scientists aim to find out if it is capable of supporting life.

Font: ABC

Reference article: https://www.abc.es/ciencia/jupiter-alcanza-oposicion-mayor-aproximacion-tierra-anos-20220920145016-nt.html

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