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 at opposition, meaning Earth is directly between it and the sun, said Trina L. Ray, deputy science manager for the Europa Clipper mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
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 367 million miles (590.6 million kilometers) between Earth and Jupiter, according to NASA. Jupiter is about 600 million miles (965.6 million kilometers) away from our home planet at its farthest point, the space agency said.
As Jupiter revolves around the Sun in its orbit, there is a point when it reaches the opposite side of the Sun as seen from Earth. On Monday, apart from reaching that position, the largest planet in the solar system will also be the closest to Earth in 59 years. Just 59,06,29,248 kilometers from Earth, it will be this close to us in 107 years.
The next time the planet comes this close will be 2129, making Monday’s planetary proximity an unmissable event.
Kobelski recommends a large telescope, around 4-inch or larger, to see the gas giant’s Great Red Spot. Filters in the green to the blue range will enhance the visibility of the red spot.
Scientists have detected a total of 79 Jovian moons but only about 53 moons. The planet’s four largest moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto—are called Galilean satellites because Galileo discovered them in 1610. On September 26, these Galillean satellites can also be observed, visible as bright dots on either side of the planet.