KOLKATA: In the past few evenings, have you spotted a very bright object close to the Moon? That is Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system! In its 12-year journey around the Sun, the Earth and Jupiter come close every 13 months. Jupiter came nearest to the Earth at 8.30 pm on Saturday when it was 605 million km from the Earth. That is the closest it will be till August 20, 2021.
Jupiter’s proximity to Earth will lead to another celestial event. Jupiter will come in ‘opposition’ with Earth at 7.30 pm on Monday. Opposition occurs when the Earth is exactly between the Sun and another planet. Since Jupiter will be exactly opposite the Sun with respect to Earth, it will arrive on the eastern horizon just after sunset and will stay through the night.
“Jupiter is so close that even with a small telescope one will be able to see most of the surface features of the planet. With a larger telescope of 10 inch or more, one can not only spot the four moons of Jupiter but also their shadows on its surface as they pass over the planet,” said MP Birla Planetarium director (research and academic) Debiprasad Duari.
Jupiter will be at its next opposition on January 6, 2014. But at the time, it will not be as close as this year. At the exact point of opposition, Jupiter will be 609 million km from Earth. “Jupiter will remain bright and close through December and January. But Monday evening’s show will be the best available for some time to come,” Duari added.
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/By-Jove-Watch-that-bright-object-near-Moon/articleshow/17459087.cms