Jupiter now makes the closest approach to Earth since 1963; know how to observe

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Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth in 59 years on Monday, September 26, according to NASA.

The largest planet in our solar system, the gas giant will be in opposition, meaning Earth is directly between it and the sun, said Trina L. Ray, deputy scientific manager for the Europa Clipper mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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The space agency originally said Jupiter would be making its closest approach to Earth in 70 years, but corrected its statement after discovering the error, a NASA spokesperson said.

There will be about 590.6 million kilometers between Earth and Jupiter, according to NASA. Jupiter is about 965.6 million kilometers away from our planet at its most distant point, the space agency said.

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Jupiter is in opposition every 13 months, the time it takes Earth to orbit the Sun relative to Jupiter, according to EarthSky.

Neither Earth nor Jupiter orbit the Sun in a perfect circle, which makes each opposition a slightly different distance, said Ray, who is also a NASA research scientist for Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface, or Reason.

how to watch

Jupiter will appear brighter and larger in the sky, making the event a great opportunity to catch a glimpse, NASA said.

The gas planet will rise at sunset and appear pearly white to the naked eye, said Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston.

With a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you’ll be able to see the planet’s bands, according to NASA.

Stargazers can also see three or four of Jupiter’s moons, including Europa, Ray said.

As I’m working on a spacecraft that we’ll send into the Jupiter system to explore Europa,” she said, “I’m always excited to see Jupiter and even Europa with my own eyes.”

For accurate timing when looking at the sky, use The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s visible planets calculator.

Saturn and Mars will also be visible, so try to locate those planets while watching Jupiter’s opposition, Hartigan said.

Remaining events in 2022

Three more full moons will occur this year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac:

  • October 9: Hunter’s Moon
  • November 8: Beaver Moon

Native American tribes have different names for full moons, such as the Cheyenne tribe’s “dry grass moon” for the one that occurs in September, and the Arapaho tribe’s “bursting trees” for the full moon that occurs in December.

See the peak of these upcoming meteor shower events later this year, according to EarthSky’s 2022 meteor shower guide:

  • Draconids: October 8th to 9th
  • Orionids: October 20th to 21st
  • Southern Taurids: November 5th
  • Northern Taurids: November 12
  • Leonidas: November 17th to 18th
  • Geminis: December 13th to 14th
  • Bears: December 22nd to December 23rd

And there will be one more total lunar eclipse and one more partial solar eclipse in 2022, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to people in parts of Greenland, Iceland, most of Europe, northeast Africa and western and central Asia.

The total lunar eclipse on November 8 can be seen in Asia, Australia, Pacific, South America and North America between 4:02 am and 9:56 am ET. But for people in eastern North America, the Moon will be setting during this time.

Wear suitable eclipse glasses to view solar eclipses safely, as sunlight can damage your eyes.

Source: CNN Brasil

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