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Giant planet Jupiter will be big, bright tonight

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A NASA photo of planet Jupiter.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Jupiter, the largest celestial body after the Sun in the Solar System, will be at its biggest and brightest on Monday night much to the delight of sky-gazers.

The planet, which has a system of rings, is at its closest approach and thus would appear more big and bright than usual, N Sri Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India said.

The planet can be seen with naked eyes an hour after sunset in the eastern direction on Monday. It will be visible all through the night and at midnight, one can spot it in the southern direction at a higher elevation, he said.

According to him, Jupiter, which has a large number of natural satellites, will be in 'opposition' on Monday night. "A planet is said to be in opposition when it is directly opposite to the Sun from our view from Earth," he said.

At its opposition, the giant planet is fully illuminated by the Sun and appears disc-like, he said, adding, Jupiter's opposition occurs every 13 months.

The last opposition of the planet occurred on October, 29, 2011 and the next will be on January 6, 2014.

The minimum distance of Jupiter from Earth is approximately 588 million kms while its maximum distance is about 967 million kms.

On Monday, the ring planet will be at 608 million kms, which is very close to its minimum distance from Earth.

"Because of its closeness to Earth, Jupiter will be shinning very bright at -2.8 magnitude," Kumar said.

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Jupiter  Earth  Solar System  Sun  
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