You can see ‘brightest’ Jupiter with the naked eye this weekend – and even spot its MOONS
JUPITER is about to reach opposition, meaning stargazers can see the planet at its brightest this weekend.
It will be shining in the constellation Sagittarius the Archer.
Jupiter can be seen here looking like a bright star on the right-hand side[/caption]
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 will be on the evenings of July 13 and 14.
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.
Jupiter is said to have 79 moons but only four giant ones[/caption]
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 you should be able to see Jupiter’s four giant moons.
One of these moons is called Europa and is said to have an underground ocean that could host alien life.
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.
It took five years for the spacecraft to finally reach this destination.
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 space news, Venus has been shining at its brightest this week.
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.
How often do you stargaze? Let us know in the comments…
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