Look up! Jupiter to be at its brightest in over 70 years on Sep 26 – Deets here

New Delhi: Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth in 70 years on September 26, and stargazers can expect a spectacular view when the giant planet reaches opposition. Opposition occurs when an astronomical object rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, putting the object and the Sun on opposite sides of the Earth. Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, making it appear larger and brighter than at any other time of year. But that isn’t all. On Friday NASA said in a statement “Jupiter`s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, which means this year`s views will be extraordinary.” Jupiter will be approximately 365 million miles away from Earth at its closest approach. At its farthest point, the planet is approximately 600 million miles from Earth.

A research astrophysicist at NASA`s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Adam Kobelski said, “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 observed these moons with 17th-century optics. One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system you use,” he quoted Kobelski suggests using a larger telescope to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in greater detail; a four-inch-or-larger telescope and some green-to-blue filters would improve the visibility of these features.

An ideal viewing location, according to Kobelski, will be at a high elevation in a dark and dry area. Although Jupiter has 53 named moons, scientists believe that 79 have been discovered in total. The Galilean satellites are the four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Juno, NASA’s spacecraft that has been orbiting Jupiter for six years, is dedicated to exploring the planet’s surface and moons. Scientists believe that studying Jupiter will lead to ground-breaking discoveries about the formation of our solar system.

(With Agencies Inputs)

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