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New Jupiter image captured by Hubble Space Telescope

08 April 2017

And on April 7, Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth this year, coming to within about 414 million miles of our home planet and appearing extraordinarily bright in the night sky.

The best locations to view Jupiter, tonight, appear to be in the southern Prairies (Manitoba should go out tonight, and Saskatchewan early Saturday morning) and Ontario (with skies gradually clearing across the province as the night progresses).

The configuration goes like this: Earth is now lined up directly between the sun and Jupiter at a point called opposition. This means that the Sun, Earth and Jupiter line up, with Earth sitting in between the Sun and the gas giant.

The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is closest to the Earth this month and the Sun fully illuminates hemisphere facing our planet.

Steady binoculars or any small telescope will reveal Jupiter's four traveling companions, discovered by Galileo in 1610.

Look up tonight, with just a few clouds in our forecast we should have a great night and weekend to look at telescope needed. You can spot the planet easily with the naked eye in the east following sunset, and even a small telescope will reveal its most prominent cloud features and largest moons.

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Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured a stunning new image of Jupiter, showing several distinct bands in its roiling atmosphere, the famous Great Red Spot, and the lesser known "Red Spot Junior" - located further down south.

Will you see Jupiter at Opposition?

They have been able to gain new insight into some of Jupiter's most unique features, like the famous great red spot, and even the northern lights dancing around its poles. Since this vortex, which is large enough to engulf three Earths, was first spotted in 1664, scientists have noticed that it has been shrinking. Don't mistake it for one of Jupiter's moons. Stargazers won't want to miss it. Look for one of the brightest objects in the night sky, visible from sundown to sunrise near the moon.

On Friday night, from anywhere in the USA, you should be able to spot Jupiter tucked in the center of the constellation Virgo in the Southeastern sky.

The planet will be positioned directly opposite the sun, while reaching its closest point to Earth.

New Jupiter image captured by Hubble Space Telescope