Today marks the first time in over 60 years when Jupiter will be closest to Earth. At its farthest point, Jupiter is around 600 million miles from Earth. It will be 367 million miles away today, making it a must-see event.
In 2129, 107 years from now, the planet will next pass by Earth at this distance.
Jupiter’s orbit around the sun takes more than 11 years to complete. It travels around the sun until it reaches a point when Earth can view it on the other side. Intriguingly, Jupiter will be in an unusual orbital configuration today, bringing it within 59 years of Earth.
The most giant planet in the solar system will emerge in the heavens with a -2.9 magnitude, making it look much brighter and more extensive. According to news sources, the planet will be visible in the skies from 5:29 p.m. today to 5:31 a.m. tomorrow.
An optimum viewing location, according to NASA research astronomer Adam Kobleski, will be dim, dry, and high up. He claims that with decent binoculars, it should be possible to see the banding (at least the central band) and three to four Galilean satellites (moons). Mr. Kobelski advised using a 4-inch or more giant telescope to examine Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail.