Last night, Jupiter was closest to Earth since 1963. The largest planet of the solar system shone particularly brightly in the sky, which made it easier to observe even for people who do not have professional equipment. This moment coincided with another interesting phenomenon called the great opposition of Jupiter.
On Sunday night, the planet approached the Earth at a distance of about 591 million kilometers. The last time she was so close was in 1963. Even though it may seem very, very far away, it was enough to make Jupiter particularly large and bright for an observer from Earth.
In the vicinity Gniezno Reporter 24 Włodek captured several shots of silver Jupiter and its satellites that stand out in the night sky.
As Jupiter’s distance from Earth increases, it will gradually become darker from the Earth’s point of view. For the next month, however, this difference will be difficult to see with the naked eye. Therefore, if the weather is good, we can count on interesting observations also during the following nights.
Jupiter’s great opposition
This is not the only interesting thing about Jupiter this month.
On Monday, the largest planet in the Solar System is facing our star, so it will be on the opposite side of the Earth than the Sun. The situation in which Jupiter, Earth and the Sun come to exactly this position occurs every 13 months and is called the opposition. Since Jupiter was very close to Earth, the phenomenon was defined by the great opposition.
In the following days, using even small telescopes, we can also see the four largest moons of Jupiter, i.e. Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto. They are called Galileo, because in 1410 they were discovered by Galileo. By conducting observations over several nights, you can see them in different positions relative to Jupiter. If one of the moons hides behind the face of a planet, we will only see three of them.
More advanced devices will allow you to see the colorful stripes of clouds in the planet’s atmosphere and the Great Red Spot, a huge anticyclone that has been going on for hundreds of years.
As with all astronomical phenomena, in order to ensure fruitful observations, it is best to go to places away from artificial city light, where it will not disturb the glow of the planet.
space.com, accuweather.com, PAP, tvnmeteo.pl
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