Thanks to some pretty incredible astronomical phenomena going down this week, you might be able to spot Jupiter and its iconic stripes. This is because of two things: the planet is the closest to Earth that it’s been in 59 years, and it’s directly opposite the sun at the moment. “Opposition” happens once every year or so, but Jupiter won’t be this close to Earth again for another 107 years. So this week is shaping up to be a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.
When Jupiter will be brightest
As it reaches opposition, Jupiter will appear biggest and brightest in the early hours of Tuesday, September 27 as well as Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. According to the University of Southern Queensland’s astrophysics professor Jonti Horner, midnight could be a good time to catch sight of Jupiter as it’ll be in the middle of the sky.
If you miss it, however, and want to see it later in the week and coming weeks, it could still be visible, just a little less bright as Jupiter leaves opposition.
For the best viewing experience, you’ll want to head to a dark spot with an unobstructed view and no light pollution.
While Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye, taking a look through binoculars or a telescope will give you the chance to see it in more detail.