Today, Indians can watch the biggest planet Jupiter in its closest approach to the Earth and those in the east coast of India from Kolkata to Viskhapatnam will have a brighter sight of the celestial wonder.
For sky-gazers, Jupiter (Bruhaspati/Guru in Hindi/Telugu) will appear larger than usual tonight, said the Planetary Society of India. It said the planet will be positioned in the opposite direction to the Sun.
Because of the change in the location of planets, the phenomenon Sunn-Earth-Jupiter in opposite directions can be spotted as the sun sets in the west and Jupiter rises in the east. The brightest Jupiter can be seen in the evening with naked eyes till February 23, said the society.
Since it is closest to the Earth, Jupiter will be brightest and appear bigger tonight. All solar planets orbit Sun and the phenomenon of opposition Sun- Earth- Jupiter occurs when they are opposite to each other from earth.
One can see Jupiter, with his or her behind to the setting Sun. In the morning one has to look in the opposite direction of Sunrise to locate Jupiter. “In other words Due to phenomena of Opposition as the Sun sets in west, Jupiter rises (east) in the evening. Whereas as Sun rises in the Morning, Jupiter sets in west,” said the society in a statement.
On 6th February, 2015 – Closest:
Generally the minimum distance of Jupiter from earth is 588 Million kilometers approx. Whereas the Maximum distance is 967 Million km approx. On the 6th February, 2015 Jupiter will reach closest point at 4.346 A.U. or 650 million km which is very close to its minimum distance from earth. Further this is the closest Jupiter can get to earth till year 2020.
The brightness of Jupiter will last for a month because of its closeness to earth. In a telescope, Planet Jupiter would appear big and bright shining at -2.6 Magnitude and the phenomenon would last up to 23rd Feb 2015.
How to Spot Jupiter?
TIMINGS : Evening: After an Half Hour after Sunset if one can look towards East direction quite opposite to direction of sunset one would see Jupiter rising. Being visible all through the night, at Midnight one can facing South find it high above head.
Morning Walkers: 1 hour before Sunrise towards West, quite opposite Direction to Sunrise.
Venus in Sky – Celestial Meeting of Jupiter with Venus 4th August 2015: Planet Venus which is visible in Evening these days can be spotted in West Direction after Sunset till August 2015.
So at 6.45 pm one can see Venus in West and Jupiter in East. On 4th August, both Venus and Jupiter will appear near each other due to Conjunction. Anyone observing both Jupiter and Venus once in a week till August can appreciate journey of Jupiter moving close to Venus for a celestial meeting in Earth Sky.[ALSO SEE: HOW TO SPOT JUPITER]