On Monday, September 26th, the enormous planet Jupiter will be closer to Earth than it has been in the last 59 years, making it prominently visible in the night sky.
As it rises in the east at dusk, the largest planet in the solar system will appear particularly enormous and dazzling.
The planet will be visible to everyone, and anyone with even a modest set of binoculars or telescope should be able to view the planet’s stripes on its surface and several of its larger moons.
Jupiter Has 79 Known Moons, Many With Greek Names
The largest four of Jupiter’s seventy-nine known moons are the Galilean satellites. These moons, which go by the Greek names Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, ought to be discernible as bright specks on either side of the gas giant.
Europa, the ice moon, which contains a concealed large ocean, has emerged as the main focus of research into the possibility of life existing elsewhere within our solar system. In order to accomplish this, the Europa Clipper will go to the Jovian moon; its launch is planned for no earlier than 2024. Additionally, Europe will launch the Jupiter Icy Moons probe in April 2023 to study three Galilean moons.
Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, said, “Outside of the Moon, it should be one of the [if not the] brightest objects in the night sky.”
Kobelski added that “with good binoculars, the banding and three or four of the Galilean satellites [or moons] should be visible.”
Kobelski advises using a telescope with a focal length of at least four inches to view Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and to see the bands more clearly.
The Great Red Spot is supposed to be the largest storm in the solar system, measuring around ten thousand miles (about sixteen thousand kilometers) across with wind gusts between 270 and 425 miles per hour.
The Great Red Spot Has A Remarkable Depth
The Great Red Spot has a remarkable depth, according to recent analysis by NASA‘s Juno probe. The storm is deep enough to span from the ocean floor of Earth to the International Space Station and is already twice as big as our planet.
In passing Earth, Jupiter will be 367 million miles away from our planet at its closest and 600 million miles away at its farthest point.
Nonetheless, Jupiter’s appeal extends beyond amateur astronomers; researchers believe that examining the giant might be able to shed light on how the solar system evolved.