Come Monday night, Jupiter will be the closest to Earth in 59 years.
Experts say they expect stargazers to experience wonderful views.
“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 important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with 17th-century optics. One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system you use.”
The solar system’s largest planet will be approximately 367 million miles from Earth. It’ll be the closest since it was in 1963. 367 million miles hardly seems close, does it?
According to NASA:
This happens because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the Sun in perfect circles – meaning the planets will pass each other at different distances throughout the year. Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, which means this year’s views will be extraordinary. At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles in distance from Earth, about the same distance it was in 1963. The massive planet is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point.
The planet will appear larger and brighter, which will make viewing extraordinary come Monday evening.