Jupiter astronomy
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan | Gulf News

Enthusiasts gathered at Sharjah’s Mleiha Archaeological Centre to have a closer at Jupiter, during a once-in-a-lifetime celestial spectacle.

The event was lead by Nirmal Rajah, Prabhakaran and Anurag Amin, educators at Mleiha Archaeology Centre, who explained about "Jupiter Opposition" and shared about other planets and stars.

The so-called "Jupiter Opposition" happens when Jupiter, the Earth and the Sun are aligned in the same line.

Jupiter was at the opposition on September 26 at 20:00 UTC. At the time of the opposition, Jupiter was at a distance of 3.95 AU or 591 million km or 33 light minutes from our planet.

All the planets in the Solar System orbit around the Sun. At certain points during these orbits, the Earth finds itself directly between the Sun and another planet. This is the moment at which that planet is said to be "in opposition".

During opposition, the planet appears at its largest and brightest, and it is above the horizon for much of the night. For stargazers and astro photographers, it's an ideal time to view and photograph the superior planets. Jupiter’s opposition to the sun and closest approach to Earth fell on the same day.

That’s because opposition took place so near in time to Jupiter’s perihelion – on January 21, 2023 – its closest point to the sun in its 12-year orbit. The juxtaposition of Jupiter’s opposition in September 2022, and perihelion in early 2023, brings the planet closer to Earth at this opposition than it has been for 59 years (since 1963).

The emirate’s leading archaeological and eco-tourism project, developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is located in the historic dunes of Mleiha, approximately 40 minutes away from Sharjah city lights.