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Jupiter makes the closest approach to Earth in 59 years

Jupiter makes closest approach to Earth in 59 years

Jupiter made its closest approach to Earth in 59 years on Monday. The next time Jupiter will come this close will be in 2129. It was an excellent sight as the giant gas planet came into “opposition”. In terms of the Earth’s surface, opposition occurs when an astronomical object rises in the east while the Sun sets in the west, placing the object and the Sun on opposite sides of the Earth.

Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, making the planet appear bigger and brighter than at any other time of year.

“Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth rarely coincides with opposition, meaning this year’s views will be extraordinary,” NASA said in a statement. At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 365 million miles from Earth.

The planet is approximately 600 million miles from Earth at its farthest point.

“With good binoculars, the streaks (at least the middle belt) and three or four 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,” he noted.

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