Jupiter at Its Best—April 7, 2017
Jupiter at Its Best—April 7
Look for Jupiter to be at its best and brightest of the entire year.
The largest planet in the solar system officially reaches opposition—meaning it is on the opposite side of the sky from the sun—and will appear to be the largest disc in the sky, visible from sundown to sunrise. For Jupiter, opposition also means that this is the closest the planet will come to Earth, at 414 million miles. This will make it stunningly bright, outshining even than the nearby brilliant star Spica.
Make sure to check out its retinue of moons through binoculars, as well as Jupiter’s own complex atmospheric details through a small telescope. For those with larger backyard telescopes, watch for the famed Great Red Spot to pop into view as the planet spins on its axis. This cyclonic storm is twice the size of Earth and has been raging for at least three centuries.
Moon Joins Jupiter—April 10
A few days after the date of its opposition, Jupiter continues to dominate the sky, and tonight it is joined by a full moon.