Look to the skies - Jupiter is coming to visit!

Look to the skies - Jupiter is coming to visit!

Jupiter, the largest planet our the solar system, will look like an extremely bright star next to the Moon in the coming days, in what astronomers have described as “one of the most spectacular events visible” this year.

"This is definitely an event for your 'bucket list', seeing the two brightest objects in the night sky closer than you will ever see them again in your life," said David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

"It is really only a line-of-sight effect with Jupiter being 2,000 times further away than the Moon, but to the general public it will look like the two brightest objects in the night sky will be beside one another in the most impressive display the Moon can ever put on with another celestial object!"

Jupiter is currently at its closest point to the Earth and will be visible from all over the world.

The pair will technically be closest on Sunday night, and almost as close on Monday night, when Astronomy Ireland will be setting up some of the most powerful telescopes in the world that any member of the public is ever likely to use to give the public a close up view of both the Moon and Jupiter.

The free event (donations suggested) is taking place on Monday night at 9pm at Astronomy Ireland's Headquarters in Rosemount Business Park, Blanchardstown, which is just off the M50. Booking is not necessary.

"The Moon is always stunning in a telescope, with thousands of craters peppering its surface and vast lava plains and huge mountains all visible in the giant telescopes," said Mr Moore.

"It's an amazing sight that never fails to amaze me even after years of seeing it in a large telescope.

"Those who stay until after 10pm will even get to see the Great Red Spot on Jupiter which is the biggest storm in the solar system, bigger than Earth, and has been 'blowing' with 500 km/h winds for over 300 years!"

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