(ORDO NEWS) — During Jupiter’s opposition, which occurs every 13 months, the planet appears brighter and larger. However, this time observing Jupiter will be even more exciting. NASA explains that the gas giant will also make its closest approach to Earth in 70 years!
Are you ready for Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth in the last seventy years?
In recent months, the James Webb Space Telescope has provided us with stunning photographs of the gas giant. We saw unprecedented views of Jupiter, its moons, dim invisible rings and stunning polar aurora.
Lucky for us, we don’t have to rely on Webb to experience the magic that Jupiter has to offer. In fact, we only need binoculars or a telescope and hope for clear skies.
When Jupiter reaches its point of closest approach (opposition) on Monday, September 26, astronomy enthusiasts can look forward to excellent views of the giant planet.
Seen from the Earth’s surface, opposition occurs when an object rises in the east and the Sun sets in the west, causing the object and the Sun to be on opposite sides of the planet.
During Jupiter’s opposition, which occurs every 13 months, the planet appears brighter and larger. However, this time observing Jupiter will be even more exciting. NASA explains that the gas giant will also make its closest approach to Earth in 70 years!
During the year, the Earth and Jupiter pass each other at different distances, since the planets do not revolve around the Sun in perfect circles.
Normally, Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, so this year will see spectacular views.
The closest approach of Jupiter to the Earth will be approximately 587 million km. When it is at its furthest point from Earth, the massive planet is about 900 million km away.
According to Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, “With good binoculars, you should be able to see the banding (at least the central band) and three or four Galilean moons (moons).
It’s important to remember that that Galileo observed these moons with 17th-century optics.” One of the key requirements will be a stable installation for whatever system you use,” says Kobelski.
The Great Red Spot and Jupiter’s bands can be seen in greater detail with a larger telescope; A 4″ telescope and some green and blue filters will improve visibility. The best places for observation, according to Kobelevsky, are highlands, dark and dry terrain.
The few days before and after Sept. 26 should be ideal for watching, Kobelski said. The best time to view this spectacle will be on either side of the date, so take advantage of the good weather.
In addition to the Moon, the gas giant should be one of (if not the most) brightest object in the night sky,” the astrophysicist said.
Despite the fact that Jupiter has 53 named moons, scientists have discovered 79 moons in total. Known as the Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are the four largest moons orbiting the gas giant.
They were first observed by Galileo Galilei in 1610, which is why they are named after him. With a telescope or binoculars, the Galilean satellites will be visible as bright dots during the opposition.
For six years, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has orbited Jupiter and studied its surface and moons. After starting the journey in 2011, Juno took five years to reach Jupiter.
During its flight to Jupiter since 2016, the spacecraft has provided data and images about Jupiter’s energetic atmosphere, internal structures, internal magnetic field, and magnetosphere.
Scientists say studying Jupiter could lead to breakthrough discoveries about how our solar system formed. The Juno mission has been extended until 2025 or the end of the spacecraft’s life.
The next major project to explore Jupiter will be Europa Clipper. Known for its icy shell, Jupiter’s iconic moon Europa will be explored by this spacecraft.
NASA scientists believe there is a vast ocean beneath Europa’s surface and are trying to determine if life is possible there. The spacecraft is expected to travel to the Jupiter system in 2024.
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