The best day to view the giant planet is on September 26, when it reaches opposition. For someone on Earth, opposition happens when an astronomical object rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, placing the object and the Sun on opposite sides.
Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, and on the day the planet appears larger and brighter than at any other time of the year. So why is it unique this time. “Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, which means this year’s views will be extraordinary,” NASA’s statement explained.
Jupiter is almost 11 times the size of Earth, and about 318 times as massive. At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 365 million miles in distance from Earth. At its furthest point, the planet is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth.
Jupiter has 53 named moons, but scientists believe that 79 have been detected in total. The four largest moons — Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto — are called the Galilean satellites.
What is the best way for amateur stargazers to watch Jupier on that day. An IANS report has some recommendations by Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
- With good binoculars, the banding (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean moonss should be visible.
- One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system is used.
- A larger telescope to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail
- A four inch-or-larger telescope and some filters in the green to blue range would enhance the visibility of those features.
The ideal viewing location will be at a high elevation in a dark and dry area.
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