3rd Dec 2012 - Jupiter Closest,Biggest,Brightest for a Month & Later

On 3rd December, 2012 at 7:15 a.m. Planet Jupiter (Bruhaspati/Guru in Hindi/Telugu) would be at opposition to Sun and hence Closest to earth shining at bright  -2.8 Magnitude.

Due to this phenomenon of opposition Sun- Earth- Jupiter would be opposite to each other from our perspective on earth. And in a line if one can see them from above with Sun &Jupiter on either side of earth. Because of this an observer would note as the Sun sets in west, Jupiter rises (east) in the evening. Whereas as Sun rises in the Morning, Jupiter sets in west.

What is Opposition ? A planet (during course of its journey around sun) is said to be at opposition when it is directly opposite the Sun from our viewpoint on Earth. The result is that the planet is fully illuminated by the sun and appears disk-like. Importantly during opposition the planet in question would be at its closest approach and thus would appear more big and brighter than usual. At this point Sun-Earth- Planet would be in a straight line opposite to each other. Though planet is at opposition for only one day, nevertheless for visual purposes it is almost as good for viewing for a couple of weeks to a Month before and after opposition. Jupiter oppositions occur every 13 months. The last opposition of Jupiter occurred on 29th October, 2011 and the next will be 6th January 2014.

3rd December, 2012 - Closest:  Generally the minimum distance of Jupiter from earth is 588 Million kilometers approx. Whereas the Maximum distance is 967 Million km approx. On the 3rd December Jupiter will reach closest point i.e. would at 608 million km which is very close to its minimum distance from earth.

Brightest - Similar Brightness – For a Month  : because of its closeness to earth  as of now Planet Jupiter would appear big through telescope and very bright shining at -2.8 Magnitude up to 6th Jan 2013.
Decreasing Brightness & Disappearance from Evening sky in May 2013 :  As earth races away from Jupiter in its orbit brightness would reduce gradually shining at  -2.7 (3rd Jan  to 19th Jan ), -2.6 (20th Jan  to 2nd Feb), - 2.5 (3rd Feb – 16th Feb), - 2.4 (17 Feb –  2nd March), - 2.3 (3rd March – 17th March), - 2.2 (18th March –  2nd April), - 2.1 (3rd April  – 22nd April), 2.0 (23rd April – 22nd April) and finally – 1.9 till end of July 2013.

Observe with Naked Eye:  Telescopes are required only if one wants to appreciate finer details of this planet. To Spot planets (in any part of year with naked eye) one has to remember/differentiate that as seen from earth though planets shine, they don’t twinkle/blink unlike stars.  This is because planets merely reflect the sunlight whereas Stars radiate the light they produce.

DIRECTIONS TO SPOT – JUPITER –  WITH  SIMILAR  BRIGHTNESS -  UNTIL – till 6th Jan 2013  – TIMINGS : Evening: After an Hour after Sunset if one can look towards East direction quite opposite to direction of sunset one would see Jupiter rising. It will be visible all through the night, at Midnight one can spot it high above southern direction. Morning Walkers:  if one wants look at Jupiter (also known as big brother of our solar system) during morning they can do so one hour before Sunrise towards West Direction quite opposite to where Sun would rise. 

Invitation for Observation Schools - Astronomical Telescopes: Society is happy to announce JUPITER OBSERVATION CAMPAIGN INDIA 2012-13 (3rd December 2012 to 6th June 2013). Society is conducting series of observations (at new residential facility at Nagole) for Students, Schools, General Public and Students (drop outs) of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in the state and across the country in association with various NGO’s.

Society invites interested, individuals, schools and other organizations across the state to write with request for observations with Astronomical Telescopes to ssa.media@gmail.com or at Planetary Society India P.O.Box.No.1361, Hyderabad -28.