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Man captures ‘once in a lifetime’ footage of Jupiter from Orpington loft room

Jupiter made its closest approach to earth in the last 59 years this week – and one south east London stargazer managed to spot the “once in a lifetime” occurrence.

NASA predicted impressive views of the solar system’s largest and oldest planet as it reached opposition on Monday night.

And Stephen Sangster, from Orpington, managed to capture footage of the planet and four moons from his loft room using his iPhone and a telescope.

He told the News Shopper: “I managed to film the planet and three moons on iPhone down a telescope lens.

“I then managed to get four moons in the end.

“It’s amazing to think it will never be as close in our lifetime.”

On Monday, the gas giant rose in the east as the sun set in the west which put them on opposite sides of Earth – and at the closest point since 1963.

Jupiter’s opposition does occur every 13 months but the orbit of planets are not perfect circles. 

Jupiter and four moons in the Orpington night sky as the planet reached opposition on Monday nightJupiter in Orpington (photo: Stephen Sangster)

Planets can pass each other at different distances but this opposition brought Jupiter to its closest distance to the Earth in almost six decades.

The fifth planet from the sun was just 367 million miles away, which although might still sound like a fair distance, its distance from the Earth can range to a staggering 600 million miles away at its furthest.

NASA experts suggested that the key to seeing the celestial spectacle was to pick a stargazing spot that is high, dark and dry.

Then, looking towards the eastern horizon around sunset and gazers should have been able to see it with the naked eye.

Jupiter, aside from the moon, was the brightest object in the sky.

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