No telescope required: Watch Jupiter ‘rise’ above the New York City skyline later this month

Jupiter is now the brightest celestial body in the night sky, and over the next few days, it will move over the course of 12 years until it reaches “opposition” on September 26.

That evening, the Sun, Earth, and Jupiter will line up, bringing the gas giant the closest it has been to our planet for nearly 60 years. It will be so bright and close that it can be seen with the naked eye – even in the light-polluted sky over New York City – as it rises from the southeast. Jupiter won’t be that close again for another 107 years, until 2129.

Also in the evening cluster this month is the Beehive Cluster, a cloud of about 1,000 bright young stars. It is only 600 million years old, compared to 4.6 billion years old our Sun.

“Other than the Moon, there’s nothing in the sky that matches the brightness of Jupiter. You can’t miss it,” said Bart Freed, executive vice president of the Society of Amateur Astronomers in New York. “It will pop out like a sore thumb.”

The night after its opposition, Jupiter will begin to move away, appearing smaller and less bright. Until then, the planet will look like “a plane that isn’t moving,” according to Fred.

For the best views, New York City stargazers can go to large, open amusement areas such as Central Park or Carl Shores Park in Manhattan, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Areas along rivers also provide good opportunities for spotting the fifth planet from the sun.

“It will rise in the southeast like an orange star,” said Fred.

With a pair of binoculars, Jupiter will look like a small disk with four shiny objects near it like silvery fine dots. These are its four brightest moons, also called the Galilean moons, which are named after the astronomer from Florence, Italy who first recorded the sight more than 400 years ago.

“It would look like a little solar system,” Fred said.

The largest planet in our solar system has 79 moons – 26 of them have no names. With a telescope, the Galilean moons will look like bright disks. When the moons orbit in front of Jupiter, they cast a shadow over the planet’s surface as they move. This is called shadow crossing.

“What you’re watching is really what Galileo first saw before anyone, and he noticed that these stars were observing Jupiter,” Fred said.

The telescope will also allow sky watchers to see bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere and its Great Red Point, just south of the equator. Taking a look at the red spot – a massive hurricane twice the width of the Earth with winds of 400 mph – will require luck or planning.

The planet rotates every 10 hours, which means the spot may not be visible at nightfall. Sky and Telescope is creating an app that can predict the visibility of the red spot and the transit of the moon.

More than 200 million light-years away More than 200 million light-years away but still highly visible is the Beehive Cluster, a bright cluster of stars. In the metro area, a binoculars is required to get a good look. The view is even more “fantastic” with a telescope, Fried said.

The Society of Amateur Astronomers will host free public telescope shows on Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Lincoln Center’s Hearst Plaza. That evening, the Great Red Spot will be visible from about 9:45 PM to 12:45 AM

If you had a telescope and looked at it [Jupiter]”It kind of speaks for itself because it’s going to be so big,” Fred said.

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