Starwatcher Special: Jupiter Will Be Closest to Earth on Monday

CC BY 2.0 / European Southern Observatory / Artist's impression of the planet NGTS-1b
Artist's impression of the planet NGTS-1b - Sputnik International
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Get a blanket and a pair of binoculars and head outside Monday night to look up and catch a glimpse of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

According to NASA, Jupiter is at its “biggest and brightest this month, rising at dusk and remaining visible all night,” thanks to a phenomenon known as “opposition.” 

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Opposition occurs every year when Jupiter, the Earth and the sun are aligned in a straight line. It’s the optimal time to see Jupiter because that is when the planet is closest to Earth.

Using a telescope or binoculars, Jupiter, along with its four largest moons - Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto - will be visible on June 10.

However, that’s not the only time that you can get a glimpse of the big gas giant known for its stripes and swirls.

"Although opposition takes place on a specific date, the entire month or so around opposition is an equally good time to observe the planet," NASA notes. 

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. Buzz Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface, July 20, 1969. Photo was made by a 16mm movie camera inside the lunar module, shooting at one frame per second - Sputnik International
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Bob King at Sky & Telescope has some good advice for sky-watchers interested in taking a good look of Jupiter:

"In steadily-held 10× binoculars you can pretend you're Galileo and rediscover its four brightest moons … They look like tiny stars 'sticking' to either side of the planet,” King writes, also suggesting you use the roof of your car or corner of a building to keep your glasses steady for viewing.

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