Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Jupiter Opposition On 14th August, 2009
Jupiter reaches opposition on August 14th, 22:55 hours local time (17:10 GMT/UT) where it will be 4.0278 Astronomical Units (AU) from Earth. AU is the mean distance between Earth and Sun and measures circa 150 million kilometers.
In this very day Jupiter, the Earth and the Sun form a straight line and Jupiter and the Sun are 180° apart from our viewing location on earth which means that Jupiter rises in the East when the Sun sets in the West, and sets in the West when the Sun rises in the East. At or near opposition, Earth comes closest to Jupiter for the year, and Jupiter, in turn, shines most brightly in our sky.
Jupiter reaches opposition to the Sun every 398.9 days on average, or about 33½ days later in each successive year. The next opposition of Jupiter is on September 21st 2010.
Jupiter is very easy to find during this August, as it is the brightest “star” in the evening sky, shining brilliantly. It rises in the East just after sunset and is overhead at around midnight. Night sky lovers could enjoy the beautiful opportunity to observe the Jupiter at Opposition on this very night of 14th August in the constellation Capricorns passing through the ecliptic (path of sun and other planets) until the sunrise in next morning if weather permits. Otherwise the entire month of august is favorable time to watch Jupiter’s beauty in the night sky.
What is Opposition?
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are superior planets (revolves around the Sun in an orbit further away from the Sun than the Earth) in the Solar System. When a superior planet, the Earth and the Sun align in a straight line with the Earth in between, it is known as opposition. When the superior planet and the Earth lie on the opposite sides of the Sun, it is known as conjunction. During opposition, the superior planet will be closest to the Earth and it would be a suitable time for observing the superior planet.