Jupiter enters ‘opposition’ tonight. How to see it in California

Astronomy fans have a good opportunity to see Jupiter pass about as “close” as it can with Earth. “Close” is in quotes because, of course, the Red Planet will still be incredibly far away. “It’s not like we are a ton closer,” said Kyle Watters, who is the planetarium director at Sacramento State University. “We get opposition almost every year, and it’s almost always between something like 365 million miles and 415 million miles. So those are really big numbers,” Watters said. On Monday night, Jupiter will enter opposition with the sun, meaning that Jupiter and Earth will be on the same side of the solar system. That puts the two planets in as close proximity as possible. Jupiter’s opposition isn’t a rare event. One year on Jupiter is equal to about 12 years on Earth, so earthlings have a chance to see Jupiter in opposition once every 12 to 13 months. But this year’s event is unique because Earth and Jupiter will be closer than in other opposition events. “It’s basically an oval. There are parts of every planet’s year where it’s a little bit closer or a little bit farther from the sun,” Watters said. For Monday night’s opposition event, Earth will be farther from the sun than average, and Jupiter will be closer to the sun than average, making the disc of Jupiter appear about twice as large as usual. Watters said we’ll be able to spot Jupiter with the naked eye but to see any features on the planet’s surface, you’ll need a moderately strong telescope. Still, even those with binoculars may be able to pick out Jupiter’s four largest moons. Watters recommends a stand or a tripod to keep the lenses steady. Jupiter will be visible from sunset to sunrise, and Jupiter makes one full rotation every 12 Earth hours, so it is possible that those with a powerful enough telescope may be able to view the Great Red Spot, a massive storm that has been spinning away for hundreds of years. Jupiter’s next opposition will come in November 2023.

Astronomy fans have a good opportunity to see Jupiter pass about as “close” as it can with Earth.

“Close” is in quotes because, of course, the Red Planet will still be incredibly far away.

“It’s not like we are a ton closer,” said Kyle Watters, who is the planetarium director at Sacramento State University.

“We get opposition almost every year, and it’s almost always between something like 365 million miles and 415 million miles. So those are really big numbers,” Watters said.

On Monday night, Jupiter will enter opposition with the sun, meaning that Jupiter and Earth will be on the same side of the solar system. That puts the two planets in as close proximity as possible.

Jupiter’s opposition is not a rare event. One year on Jupiter is equal to about 12 years on Earth, so earthlings have a chance to see Jupiter in opposition once every 12 to 13 months.

But this year’s event is unique because Earth and Jupiter will be closer than in other opposition events.

“It’s basically an oval. There are parts of every planet’s year where it’s a little bit closer or a little bit farther from the sun,” Watters said.

For Monday night’s opposition event, Earth will be farther from the sun than average, and Jupiter will be closer to the sun than average, making the disc of Jupiter appear about twice as large as usual.

Watters said we’ll be able to spot Jupiter with the naked eye, but to see any features on the planet’s surface, you’ll need a moderately strong telescope.

jupiter view

Hearst Owned

This image of Jupiter was recently captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The colors are different from how our eyes would see the planet due to the different types of filters that Webb uses to analyze celestial objects.

Still, even those with binoculars may be able to pick out Jupiter’s four largest moons. Watters recommends a stand or a tripod to keep the lenses steady.

Jupiter will be visible from sunset to sunrise, and Jupiter makes one full rotation every 12 Earth hours, so it is possible that those with a powerful enough telescope may be able to view the Great Red Spot, a massive storm that has been spinning away for hundreds of years.

Jupiter’s next opposition will come in November 2023.

.