Jupiter, considered the most beautiful planet in our solar system, will reach opposition in September. Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months. But the September 2022 opposition will be special, because this month the planet will get as close to Earth as possible for the first time in 70 years. This means that a magnificent view of Jupiter will open from Earth for astronomers and just ordinary observers.
All the planets in the Solar System revolve around the Sun. The orbits of the planets are not a circle, but have a barely noticeable oval shape. This means that sometimes they get closer to the Sun (perihelion), and sometimes they get further (aphelion). From our point of view, there are times when Jupiter’s orbit is approaching the Earth and times when it is moving away. When the planets are in opposition, the distance between them becomes the smallest. This means that the Earth will be directly between the Sun and Jupiter.
This month’s confrontation event coincides with Jupiter’s closest approach, when the planet will approach the Earth at a distance of 587 million kilometers — as opposed to 965 million kilometers at the farthest point. This makes the next few weeks a great time for astronomers to observe the largest planet in the Solar System.
The point of maximum approximation will take place on Monday, September 26. But, according to NASA astrophysicist Adam Kobelski, a few days before and after this date will still provide beautiful views of Jupiter. These days, the planet will become the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. According to the EarthSky astronomical website, anyone with a telescope or binoculars will be able to get a great view not only of Jupiter, but also of its moons.
“With good binoculars with a large multiplicity, three or four Galilean moons should be visible. It is important to remember that one of the key needs will be a stable fixture for any observation system that you will use,” said NASA astrophysicist Adam Kobelski.
Earlier we reported on how the first photo of Jupiter was compared with the last picture of James Webb.
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