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Jupiter to light up the sky this holiday season


Andrew Fazekas, astronomer
December 1, 2012 — Skywatchers are getting their best views of the largest planet in the solar system throughout early December.


Unaided eyes will be able to spot Jupiter as a brilliant star
Unaided eyes will be able to spot Jupiter as a brilliant star

Jupiter will be at official opposition - when the planet rises in the east as the sun sets in the west.

The Sun, Earth and Jupiter are also aligned so that Jupiter is at its closest to point to Earth in 2012 - at a distance of 610 million km. It will not be this close again until 2022.

Unaided eyes will be able to spot the planet as a brilliant star, while binoculars will reveal the four main moons of Jupiter.

Even the smallest of telescopes will be able to pick up Jupiter's cloud bands.

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