The King of Planets is ready to hold court. Give yourself permission to stay up, and look up, Wednesday, March 9, to see Jupiter at opposition.
Why See Jupiter At Opposition?
It’s a chance to see the largest planet in the solar system at its best and brightest, and get a killer Instagram photo. Jupiter will be at its closest approach to Earth and opposite the sun. The sun will fully illuminate Jupiter’s face, allowing it to outshine all the stars in the sky and making it visible all night long.
When Is Jupiter At Opposition?
Jupiter reaches its opposition once every 13 months when Earth laps Jupiter as they race around the sun. This year, March 9 is the big night. The King of Planets will make its grand entrance at 6:26pm when it rises seven degrees above the eastern horizon. The crescendo, when Jupiter reaches its highest point in the sky, is at 12:09am above the southern horizon, and it’ll call it a night around 5:47am.
How Can I Watch Jupiter At Opposition?
Assuming the weather is clear and sky is dark, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye. Just look up for your chance to see astronomical royalty, which will be all dressed up in a distinctive yellow-orange courtesy of the sun. A small telescope will give you a view of the subtly shifting stripes that make up Jupiter’s zones and belts. With a medium-sized telescope, you’ll be able to see the horizontal bands more easily. Try a six-inch scope. To take a peek at Jupiter’s four largest moons, which appear as bright dots on either side of the planet, grab a pair of good binoculars. Super stargazers with more advanced telescopes and filters may catch a glimpse of the Great Red Spot, a massive storm that’s much like a hurricane on Earth.