Jupiter to be visible to naked eye as it approaches its closest distance from Earth

Updated 2018-05-10 09:09:02

CGTN Infographic

The giant planet Jupiter will be at its closest distance from Earth on Thursday, two days after "Jupiter at opposition."

This astronomical phenomenon happens when the planet is exactly opposite to the Sun in the sky. With the Earth in the middle of the two astronomical objects, eager viewers will be able to see Jupiter with their naked eyes.

At its closest, Jupiter comes to within 658 million kilometers from Earth, said Earthsky.org.

With small telescopes, observers can see the cloud bands in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well as its four largest moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and Io), according to Space.com.

Although the opposition occurred on May 8, the gas giant will be closest to Earth on May 10 because the two astronomical objects are both orbiting elliptically. Therefore, their distances from the Sun vary.

For observers in China, the ideal time to see the planet will be around Thursday midnight, said Qi Zhaoxiang, researcher from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

By Guo Meiping

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