As February heads into March, solar system’s largest gas giant Jupiter is all set to shine bright in the night sky. Stargazers will be able to see the king of all planets for the next several months, but during next few weeks, it will shine more bright and beautiful in eastern sky.
This week, Jupiter, a planet with mass one-thousandth that of the sun, is scheduled to set a celestial event for about an hour between 9:30 to 10:30 pm. Enthusiast sky gazers may get a glimpse of the planetary body positioned nearly half way up in the eastern sky, as per astronomers.
On March 8, Jupiter will reach opposite from the sun. It will be a time when the planet will be rising in the east and the sun setting in the west. After that, the planet with orbital period of 12 years will shine in the dark sky all night long. Around midnight, it will be at its highest in the southern sky.
As Jupiter will be directly opposite from the sun, it shines brighter and larger. Currently, the planet is with the -2.4 magnitude, greater than any star in the dark sky. The space object will be so big and bright that people with even small telescopes can watch it. The planet will appear like a white dot, not exactly circular but more oblong, as per the astronomers.
Skywatchers will also see four star-like points on the other side of the gas giant. These points are the planet’s moons: Europa, Ganymede, Callisto and Io. All of them could be one side, three and one, or two and two. There could also be a moment when one or two of them may disappear. They may hide behind Jupiter, the astronomers explained.