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The planet Jupiter will be bigger and brighter on August 20, 2021

Wed 18 Aug 2021    
| 2 min read

The biggest planet of our solar system, Jupiter will be appearing bigger and brighter on August 20, 2021. Mighty Jupiter will be in opposition to the sun on the night of August 20. That’s when Earth will fly between the sun and Jupiter, and Jupiter will appear opposite the sun in our sky. Jupiter is always bright, but it’s brightest when at or near opposition. You’ll find Jupiter easily now as a blazing light, rising in the east by mid-evening.

Jupiter will reach opposition when it lies opposite to the Sun in the sky. Lying in the constellation Capricornus, it will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky. At around the same time that Jupiter passes opposition, it also makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed its perigee – making it appear at its brightest and largest.

This happens because when Jupiter lies opposite to the Sun in the sky, the Earth passes between Jupiter and the Sun. The solar system is lined up with Jupiter and the Earth on the same side of the Sun.

How often does Jupiter reach opposition?

Jupiter comes to opposition roughly every 13 months. That’s how long Earth takes to travel once around the sun relative to Jupiter. As a result – according to our earthly calendars – Jupiter’s opposition comes about a month later each year.

Friday, August 20, will be the best night of the year to gaze at Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. That’s because the gas giant will be directly opposite the sun. Basically, opposition means Jupiter, the Earth, and the Sun will be aligned.

How and where to observe the Jupiter Opposition?

Dubai Astronomy Group CEO, Hasan Al Hariri said that “Jupiter in opposition is when Jupiter is at its closest point to Earth while directly opposite the Sun, creating a few hours of perfect alignment between the three bodies (Jupiter, Sun and Earth)— with us Earthlings in the center. This relative proximity to Earth means that the planet, already a sight to be seen on other summer nights, will be at its biggest and brightest in the night sky all year. Jupiter has an amazing moon system and many moons will also be visible with Jupiter’s opposition.

Hariri added that observing Jupiter is an experience. While opposition sky watchers can see the gas rings and black spot of Jupiter with the help of hi-tech telescopes. He informed that Dubai Astronomy Group is organizing two events, first is at Al Thuraya Astronomy Center, Mushrif Park, Dubai to observe this yearly phenomenon. DAG event will consist of the lecture explaining the Opposition of Jupiter, Q & A Session, Telescope Observation, and astrophotography of the planet using a phone. The second event is at The View, Palm where the inventory of the event will be same as Al Thuraya Astronomy Center.

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