02 December 2012

Jupiter at Opposition: Closest approach of the Year

Jupiter at Opposition
Every 13 months the planet Jupiter and Earth align with the Sun, a special moment called Opposition. That represents the closest approach between the two planets, and means that Jupiter is at its brightest and 'fullest' for the year. It's unmistakeable when it rises, the brightest light in the east after sunset, blazing in its glory in one of the most spectacular parts of the night sky, near the constellations Orion, Taurus and Auriga and a large number of bright, colorful stars.

It's easy to spot the four brightest Moons (also known as the Galilean Moons) of Jupiter if you use a simple telescope or binoculars. With Jupiter at opposition, now is the time to take a closer look. If you want to actually identify which Jovian moon is which, use this handy app from Sky & Telescope.

Image courtesy Space.com.

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