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Jupiter will be closest to Earth in 70 years on September 26; All about it

Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System will come closest to Earth on September 26. The sheer closeness of the massive planet, which is roughly 11.2 times larger than our planet, offers astronomy enthusiasts, sky gazers and everyone else a spectacular viewing opportunity. 

Jupiter will be closest to Earth in 70 years on September 26 All about it gcw
First Published Sep 18, 2022, 12:25 PM IST

Jupiter is set to make its closest approach to Earth in the last 70 years and on September 26, stargazers can expect an excellent view when the giant planet reaches opposition. Opposition occurs when an astronomical object rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, placing the object and the Sun on opposing sides of Earth from the perspective of the planet's surface.

Every 13 months, Jupiter is in opposition, making it look bigger and brighter than at any other period of the year. That's not all, though. The views this year will be remarkable, NASA said in a statement late on Friday. Jupiter's closest approach to Earth seldom coincides with opposition.

Jupiter will be around 365 million kilometres from Earth when it makes its closest approach. At its furthest point, the planet is around 600 million miles from Earth.

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“With good binoculars, the banding (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible," said Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

"It's crucial to keep in mind that Galileo used optics from the 17th century to examine these moons. A secure mount for your chosen system will be one of the most important requirements," he observed.

A four inch or bigger telescope and certain filters in the green to blue range might increase the visibility of these features, according to Kobelski, who advises using a larger telescope to observe Jupiter's Great Red Spot and bands in greater detail. Kobelski claims that the best viewing spot will be at a high height in a dry, dark environment.

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Jupiter has 53 named moons, but researchers estimate that 79 have really been found. The Galilean satellites are the name given to the four biggest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. The mission of NASA's Juno spacecraft, which has been circling Jupiter for six years, is to study the surface and moons of the planet.

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