Jupiter Opposition 2017 – See the Planet’s Closest Approach to Earth This Year!

Jupiter Opposition 2017 – See the Planet’s Closest Approach to Earth This Year!

Jupiter Opposition 2017 – See the Planet’s Closest Approach to Earth This Year!



Jupiter is, by far, our solar system’s largest planet, towering over virtually everything besides the Sun. But, on the evenings of April 7th and 8th, Jupiter also becomes the king of the night skies! Plus, you don’t have to be a pro astronomer, or even own special equipment to enjoy the show! Astronimate brings you: Jupiter Opposition 2017: Everything You Need to Know!

What is the Jupiter Opposition 2017?

Two astronomical bodies are at opposition when they are positioned directly opposite of the Sun with Earth smack dab in the middle! In other words, from Earth, the Sun will fully illuminate Jupiter, causing its maximum brightness. Thus, Jupiter will be most visible and truly right under the Sun’s spotlight.

Not to mention, Jupiter will also make its closest approach to Earth of 2017, coming within a small 414 million miles away! Indeed, that’s an awfully long distance, but for gigantic Jupiter, that’s downright next door!

Simply put, sunlight, distance and position all provide the perfect ingredients for optimal viewing on Friday and Saturday night in April!

Where to view the Jupiter Opposition 2017?

As mentioned above, Jupiter is a true behemoth, it’s gigantic! As a result, simply seeing the king of planets on April 7th and 8th requires nothing but your human eyeballs. Barring even decently clear skies, Jupiter will rise in the East right at sunset. And, it will remain visible all night long. Not to mention, you’ll have two excellent chances as the planet will repeat this process both Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8!

More specifically, around 8:30 pm, the Sun will have set, allowing nice dark skies. Simply, look to the eastern skies, and Jupiter should reveal itself as, by far, the brightest object around.

Indeed, the Moon, only 4 days from being full, will impede slightly, causing brighter skies. However, with Jupiter’s shear size and brightness, our little satellite should be of little or no competition!

Viewing the Jupiter Opposition 2017 with the naked eye

 Here’s the best news of all: literally, no equipment is necessary! Usually, some form of technology is required to partake in exciting celestial events. However, not tonight!

Truly, the naked eye will reveal a shining, brilliant ball over your neighborhoods. Gradually, the planet will creep diagonal across the sky, eventually setting in the West in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Next, Jupiter will make the same transit across the skies the following evening (Saturday, April 8). In other words, if you are busy, or don’t have the luxury of clear skies on Friday, Jupiter has booked a second beautiful show the following night!

Viewing the Jupiter Opposition 2017 with binoculars

Using even basic binoculars will be a game-changer! In fact, proper conditions and a patient eye will reveal Jupiter’s four largest satellites, the Galilean Moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto). Actually, these are the four moons discovered by legendary astronomer, Galileo Galilei himself in the winter of 1610!

Furthermore, under more rural skies, away from city lights may even reveal some of Jupiter’s details. In fact, you may see the planet’s infamous stripes from its massive weather patterns! Truly, a sight to behold!

Viewing the Jupiter Opposition 2017 with a telescope

At last, having access to even modest backyard telescopes will open up truly amazing visual treats!

In fact, even small telescopes will clearly display Jupiter’s Galilean Moons as clear, bright orbs dancing around the planet over 48 hours. Actually, this visible change in the moon’s position is what allowed Galileo himself to discover the moon’s existence in 1610!

Finally, nearly all telescopes will even treat your eyes to something truly extraordinary, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot!

Among the planet’s most notable features, the Great Red Spot is a massive, hurricane-like storm that has waged on for over 350 years! Indeed, even small scopes and amateur eyes can view this astronomical wonder from light-polluted city skies!

Don’t miss the Jupiter Opposition 2017!

Whether you are an astronomy buff, professional, or a mere amateur seeking something exciting, don’t miss the Jupiter opposition 2017! Truly, our solar system will serve up an easy-to-find and breath-taking sight for everyone to enjoy.

Even Hubble Space Telescope is joining in the excitement, snapping this stunning picture of the king of all planets:


Hubble Tweets a beautiful Jupiter opposition photo!
Photo: NASA/ESA/Hubble

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