Jupiter to provide cosmic show

Sept. 17, 2010 at 8:16 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky, except for the moon, when it makes its closest approach to Earth in more than a decade, U.S. astronomers say.

The close encounter will happen Monday night, with the planet visible at dusk in the east and at its brightest directly overhead at midnight, Spacedaily.com reported.

Encounters happen every 13 months when 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, Tony Phillips of NASA says.

On Sept. 20, Jupiter will be as much as 46.6 million miles closer than in previous encounters and will not be this close again until 2022, he says.

In this pass Jupiter will be coming nearer to Earth than at any time between 1963 and 2022.

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