Jupiter is at its BRIGHTEST tonight – how to spot the planet and its moons
JUPITER has reached opposition and tonight is your best chance of seeing it at it’s brightest.
The fifth planet from the Sun is currently at the closest point it can get to Earth and if you have some binoculars you could even see its moons.
It will be shining in the ‘teapot’ section of the constellation Sagittarius.
Jupiter comes into opposition around every 13 months.
Opposition means it will be at its nearest point to Earth and in its full phase.
This year the best time to see it is tonight, July 14.
Jupiter, flanked by his fans Ganymede on the left and Europa and Callisto on the right, and his buddy Saturn come for some (very) early morning (~3:30 AM) coffee on the day Jupiter is in opposition to the Sun, and so, at its brightest! pic.twitter.com/UZQqOjh6ms
— Srinivas Garimella (@ThoughtletsSG) July 14, 2020
If you want to find the specific time Jupiter can be seen rising in your area then you can enter your location on In-The-Sky.org.
In London Jupiter should rise just after 21:00 GMT.
For those in New York the event should occur just after 20:30 ET.
You can watch it rise from the southeastern horizon.
There are plenty of sky scanning apps that can point you in the right direction of the Sagittarius constellation.
If you have binoculars or a telescope you should be able to see Jupiter’s four giant moons – Io, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
Europa is said to have an underground ocean that could host alien life.
Jupiter is said to have 79 moons but only four giant ones[/caption]
Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System and the fifth from the Sun.
It’s not a rocky planet like Earth and is known as a mega-gas giant.
Nasa’s Juno space probe has been in Jupiter’s orbit since July 2016.
Jupiter can be seen here looking like a bright star on the right-hand side[/caption]
It took five years for the spacecraft to finally reach this destination because Jupiter is several millions of miles away.
Juno is exploring Jupiter’s atmosphere as well as trying to learn more about its giant gravitational and magnetic fields.
Nasa hopes to find out what Jupiter is made of and how much of the planet it water.
How far away is Jupiter from Earth?
Learn how long it takes to get the largest planet in the solar system…
- At the closest point in their respective orbits, Jupiter and Earth are around 365 million miles apart.
- But because neither planet spins around the sun in a perfect circle, nor at the same speed, this number fluctuates dramatically.
- When they are furthest apart the planets are 601 million miles apart, more than two thirds farther away than they are at their nearest.
- As it is further away Jupiter takes 11.86 Earth-years to complete one orbit of the sun.
- While we travel around our star we catch up with the gas Giant once every 399 days, causing the gas giant to appear to travel backwards in the night sky.
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In other news, astronomers claim to have found a mysterious space structure spanning 1.4 billion light years across called the South Pole Wall.
Nasa has shared an image of rare ‘red sprite’ lightning that looks scarily similar to an alien invasion.
And, an ex Nasa genius is selling the ‘smell of space’ in a perfume bottle.
What’s your best stargazing experience? Let us know in the comments…
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