How to see Jupiter at its closest approach to Earth in 59 years

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 chief scientist for the Europe Clipper Mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The space agency originally said Jupiter would make its closest approach to Earth in 70 years, but corrected its statement after discovering the error, a NASA spokesman said.

There will be about 367 million miles (590.6 million km) between Earth and Jupiter, according to nasa. Jupiter is about 600 million miles (965.6 million kilometers) away from our home planet at its furthest point, the space agency said.

Jupiter is at opposition approximately every 13 months, the time it takes for Earth to orbit the Sun relative to Jupiter, according to EarthSky.

Neither Earth nor Jupiter orbits the sun in a perfect circle, which is what makes each opposition a slightly different distance, said Ray, who is also a NASA research scientist for Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near. -surface, or REASON.


Jupiter will appear brighter and larger in the sky, making the event a great opportunity to take a look, NASA said.

The gas planet will rise around sunset and appear pearly white to the naked eye, said Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston.

With a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you’ll be able to see the planet’s bands, according to NASA.

Stargazers can also see three or four of Jupiter’s moons, including Europa, Ray said.

“As I am working on a spacecraft that we will send to the Jupiter system to explore Europa,” she said, “I am always excited to see Jupiter and even Europa with my own eyes.”

For a precise time of when to look in the sky, use The Visible Planets Calculator from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Saturn and Mars will also be visible, so try to spot those planets while watching for opposition from Jupiter, Hartigan said.


Three more full moons will occur this year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac:

Native American tribes have different names for full moons, such as the Cheyenne tribe’s “dry grass moon” for the one that occurs in September, and the Arapaho tribe’s “busted trees” for the full moon that occurs in December.

See the peak of these upcoming meteor shower events later this year, according to EarthSky’s 2022 meteor shower guide:

  • Southern Taurids: November 5

  • Northern Taurids: November 12

And there will be one more total lunar eclipse and one partial solar eclipse in 2022, according to the farmer’s almanac. The partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to people in parts of Greenland, Iceland, most of Europe, northeast Africa, and western and central Asia.

The total lunar eclipse on November 8 will be visible in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America between 3:02 and 8:56 am ET. But for people in eastern North America, the moon will set during that time.

Wear proper eclipse glasses to view solar eclipses safely, as sunlight can damage your eyes.

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