NASA is urging stargazers to enjoy 'evenings with giants' this month — as the massive planets Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the night sky for the next few weeks. 'They form a triangle with bright star Fomalhaut,' the US space agency explained on its website.The planet is twice as large as all of the other planet's combined, and the Great Red Spot alone is large enough to fit the entire Earth insidee. .The gas giant came closest to Earth in almost 60 years on September 25, and 24 hours later reached opposition, meaning the planet appeared opposite the sun to those on EarthThe planet's closest approach to Earth hardly ever coincides with opposition, which NASA said meant that this year's views would be 'extraordinary'. The overlap of the two events, which will not take place again until 2139, means that Jupiter will appear brighter and larger in the sky for the next few weeks. 'That Mars appears to change its direction is an illusion caused by the motions of our planet in its orbit passing by the Red Planet in its orbit.' Earth and Mars are on roughly circular paths around the sun, like cars on a racetrack, but our planet Earth is on the inner, faster track.
During that period when we're passing Mars, and before we round the bend in our orbit to pull away from it, we see Mars in retrograde, appearing to change direction, even though it's still moving forward in its orbitAt the end of last month, astronomers revealed that Jupiter would appear at its biggest and brightest in decades, as it made its closest approach to Earth in 59 yearsStargazing: Early in the evening, you'll find Jupiter and Saturn (shown) to the southeast of the sky, moving slowly westward with the stars over the course of the nightThe Orionid meteor shower is also active throughout October and November, and peaks on the night of October 20. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest planet in our solar system after JupiterLike Jupiter, Saturn is a massive ball made mostly of hydrogen and helium, with some heavy elementsThe farthest planet from Earth discovered by the naked eye, Saturn has been known since ancient times.
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