Eyes on the skies Monday night, you may see Jupiter's stripes
Be sure you keep your eyes on the skies Monday, September 26th!
Monday night you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Jupiter’s stripes. For the first time since October 1963, Jupiter will only be 590M km (367M miles) away from Earth. Now, this is still an incredibly far distance, but at Jupiter’s farthest point it is 965M km (600M miles) away from Earth.
Not only will Jupiter be significantly closer to Earth than normal it will also be in opposition with the Sun. This means that the Sun and Jupiter are on opposite sides of the Earth, and the Sun’s reflection will make Jupiter appear brighter and larger. For this sighting you will not need a telescope, a simple pair of binoculars will do.
You should be able to see the stripes on Jupiter's surface and there is also the potential to see some of Jupiter's moons (Ganymede, lo, Callisto, Europa). If you do not have any tools to help with the sightings, you can always just look into the sky, other than the moon Jupiter will be the second brightest thing in the night sky tonight.
The two occurrences are not extremely rare. Jupiter is in opposition every 13 months, and is closest to Earth every 12 years. The overlapping of the two events will not happen again for another 107 years in October 2129.
Jupiter will rise in the East as the sunsets Monday evening, and reach its highest point in the night sky at 2:57am early Tuesday morning before disappearing in the western horizon.
If you happen to snap a good photo of this rare occurrence be sure you send it in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to share your photos!