Get ready, Vancouver Island.
The biggest planet in the solar system is about to be the closest it’s been to Earth in nearly 59 years.
According to NASA, stargazers can expect excellent views of Jupiter the entire night of Monday, September 26th when the giant planet reaches opposition.
While Jupiter’s opposition happens every 13 months, it’s extremely rare for the planet’s closest approach to occur at the same time as opposition, meaning you won’t want to miss the unique and rare views it provides— the sun, Earth and Jupiter will nearly align perfectly in the solar system on Monday.
Jupiter will be around or 590 million kilometres away from the Earth, the closest the two planets have been since 1963, according to NASA.
Jupiter is currently at its closest point to Earth in many decades.
It will keep getting closer, and growing brighter and bigger in the sky until Monday when it peaks at "opposition" the point at which Earth is perfectly aligned between Jupiter and the Sun. pic.twitter.com/IlRPE1vUH2
— Mike Gerald Gibbs🏳️🌈 (He/Him) (@Mikeggibbs) September 21, 2022
“With good binoculars, the banding (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’s important to remember that Galileo observed these moons with 17th 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 enhance the visibility of these features.
According to Kobelski, an ideal viewing location will be at a high elevation in a dark and dry area, such as Mount Tolmie and Mount Doug.
Although the nights of September 25th and September 26th will be the best nights of 2022 to view Jupiter, stargazers will have plenty of time to see the planet shine in all its glory.
According to Environment Canada, Victoria should see sun and clear skies for most of the weekend, as well as Monday and Tuesday.
Capture photos if you can and tag #victoriabuzz for a chance to be featured!