How to see Jupiter’s closest approach in Edinburgh - Met Office weather forecast for tonight’s spectacle

At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles in distance from Earth, about the same distance it was in 1963.

Sky watchers in Edinburgh are in for a treat this week, as Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth in 59 years on Monday (September 26).

Jupiter will also be in opposition, which means it will rise in the east as the Sun sets in the west. This will make the biggest planet in our solar system stand out in the evening sky.

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Adam Kobelski, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said in a statement: “Outside of the Moon, it should be one of the (if not the) brightest objects in the night sky.”

And with clear skies predicted across much of the country, it should be an excellent opportunity to see the ‘king of the planets’ that may appear larger and brighter than usual.

So when can you see Jupiter in Edinburgh this week? Here’s everything you need to know.

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How close will Jupiter be to Earth?

On 26 September Jupiter will be roughly 367 million miles away from Earth, this is roughly 300 million miles closer to our planet than its farthest away point.
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Jupiter is often in opposition, which happens about once every 13 months, and the planet and Earth come close to each other about once a year.

Earth is usually between the sun and Jupiter, but perigee, the time when Jupiter is closest to Earth, rarely happens at the same time.

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However, this week, the two will coincide making the gas giant planet appear unusually bright and big in the sky.

At its closest approach, Jupiter will be approximately 367 million miles in distance from Earth, about the same distance it was in 1963.

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The massive planet is approximately 600 million miles away from Earth at its farthest point.

When can I see Jupiter and how can I see it?

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Jupiter will reach opposition this week making its closest approach to Earth in the last 59 years

Jupiter will be visible in the UK and around the world a few days before and after Monday, September 26.

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Kobelski said with good binoculars, the banding, particularly the central band of Jupiter, and three or four of the Galilean satellites moons should be visible.

He recommends a larger telescope to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and bands in more detail; a 4 inch-or-larger telescope and some filters in the green to blue range would enhance the visibility of these features.

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He added an ideal viewing location will be at a high elevation in a dark and dry area.

Even though the closest approach will occur on Monday, Jupiter will also be in close proximity on the days preceding and following that date.

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Therefore, if you are unable to go stargazing tomorrow or the weather prevents you from doing so, you should still have a good view for the remainder of the week.

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What will the weather be like in Edinburgh?

In Edinburgh, the Met Office has predicted that there will be another dry and clear day with only a few scattered showers, most of which happen in the afternoon.

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Tonight (September 26), most of the showers will end by evening and there will be some clear periods before another cold day with patches of sunshine and a few showers on Tuesday.

From Wednesday to Friday, it will be mostly sunny with a few showers.

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When will Jupiter come this close again?

According to NASA, the next time Jupiter will come this close will be in 2129.