Jupiter set to be one of the brightest objects in the night sky this week

If you look up at the night sky this week, you may notice what seems like a bright star shining in the distance.

But that bright dot happens to be the largest planet in our solar system.

This week, Jupiter will be at its closest point to Earth throughout the entire calendar year. It will still be 641 millions kilometres away from Earth, but it’s proximity to us will be evident from its brightness.

Pierre Schierle, who serves as the president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Regina Centre, said if people happen to forget checking the sky for the gas giant this week, they will still be able to find it throughout the next couple months.

“Jupiter will actually be visible all summer and it will be the brightest thing in the night sky all summer,” he said. “It’s just that its at the closest point, so it’s even brighter.”

Whether you try to spot Jupiter this week or at any point over the next couple months, the planet will be visible at certain locations in the sky. Schierle explains the easiest way to find it.

“The easiest thing to do is look up at the southeast sky near the horizon at around 10:00 p.m., and the brightest thing you see will be Jupiter,” “At around 1:00 a.m., it will be due south in the sky and it will be 17 degrees up in the sky. So if you take your little finger and index finger, and spread them as far apart as you can, it will be just a little higher up.”

With a pair of binoculars, he added that people will also be able to spot Jupiter’s four Galilean moons throughout the summer – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They will look like four small dots surrounding the planet.

People with a telescope will be able to view some of the planet’s more apparent cloud systems.

 

Twitter: @MoisesCanalesJr

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