Tonight, look up!

Amongst my interests, astronomy definately has a sweet spot.  Ever since my early childhood, I was fascinated with the stars and planets (a healthy dose of SciFi series on TV helped) and the early 70s and 80s series like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos definately played an important factor in chosing my university degree in nuclear physics.

So, tonight, I’ll be looking up to the night sky as the weather forecast is good, and we’re in for a treat: Jupiter will be, next to the moon, the brightest object on the sky.
These “close” Jupiter moments, or “Earth-Jupiter encounters” as they are called happen every 13 months when the Earth laps Jupiter in their race around the sun.
But because Earth and Jupiter do not orbit the sun in perfect circles, they are not always the same distance apart when Earth passes by.
Now, Jupiter will be as much as 75 million km closer than previous encounters and will not be this close again until 2022.
The view through a telescope or even a pair of strong binoculars is excellent.  The planet’s disk can be seen in rare detail, so the Great Red Spot, a cyclone twice as wide as Earth, should be a breath-taking sight!

So tonight, the only way is up!

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