Stargazers around the world will get a great view of Jupiter on Monday night, weather permitting.
Astronomers said the largest planet in the solar system will be unusually close to Earth on Monday. It’s the first time Jupiter has been this close to Earth in 59 years, according to NASA.
The gas giant will reach opposition that night when it rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west, placing the planet and the sun on opposite sides of Earth. The dynamics, NASA scientists say, allows for a rare and extraordinary view of the giant planet.
Jupiter’s opposition occurs every 13 months, making the planet appear bigger and brighter than any other time of year, according to NASA.
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At its closest approach, scientists say, Jupiter will be about 367 million miles from Earth, about the same distance it was in 1963.
The big planet is about 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point.
Binoculars and bands
“With good binoculars, the bands (at least the central band) and three or four of the Galilean satellites (moons) should be visible,” said Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. . “It is important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with seventeenth-century optics. One of the key needs will be a stable mount for whatever system you use.”
Kobelski recommends a larger telescope to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail; a 4 inch or larger telescope and some filters in the green to blue range would improve the visibility of these features.
Kobelski said an ideal viewing location will be at a high elevation in a dark, dry area.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.