Where to see Jupiter in Cannock Chase tonight as Solar System's largest planet approaches

Stargazers will brave the cold and step out in the West Midlands tonight for a rare chance to see the planet Jupiter up close - relatively speaking.

This image made available by NASA and made from data captured by the Juno spacecraft shows Jupiter's south pole. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles via AP
This image made available by NASA and made from data captured by the Juno spacecraft shows Jupiter's south pole. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles via AP

Our solar system's biggest planet will come within 367 million miles of Earth, its closest point in nearly sixty years, today, giving amateur astronomers a great opportunity to see the gas giant if skies are clear.

At its furthest, Jupiter is almost twice as far from our planet.

Jupiter is 'in opposition' today, meaning that it finds itself placed on one side of the Earth with the sun on the opposite. Looking from the Earth, when the sun sets in the west, Jupiter will rise in the east, directly opposite.

Staffordshire is home to one of the region's premiere stargazing destinations in the Cannock Chase Area of Natural Beauty (AONB). The enthusiast website Go Stargazing has identified seven superior stargazing sites within the AONB.

They have all been identified as "good locations for stargazing based on local light pollution levels, distance from nearby towns and cities and offer a safe place to park".

Go Stargazing advised that the best time for watching the skies tonight will be between 7.15pm and 5am.

Brindley Bottom Car Park, Brindley Road, Cannock, WS12 4PR

Go Stargazing said: "Discover the dark skies above Cannock Chase AONB from this excellent stargazing spot. Whilst there are some nearby trees, excellent vistas are available in all directions, just a short walk away."

Camp Field Car Park, Brindley Heath Road, Cannock, WS12 4PW

"Camp Field Car Park is a great stargazing location in Cannock Chase AONB. It is nicely tucked away from the road, and it offers excellent views of the dark skies above and towards the north and west horizons."

Coppice Hill Car Park, Brocton, Rugeley, ST17 0TN

"This excellent stargazing destination in Cannock Chase AONB offers excellent all-round views with surrounding trees offering protection from local horizon-level light pollution."

Penkridge Bank Car Park, Penkridge Bank Road, Rugeley, WS15 2UA

"Penkridge Bank car park is an easily accessible location set in the heart of Cannock Chase AONB. It’s a fantastic stargazing location, with excellent views in all directions, particularly above where the stars come out on moonless nights."

White House Car Park, Penkridge Bank Road, Cannock, WS12 4PR

"Explore the dark skies from the heart of Cannock Chase AONB from this spacious car park. Excellent views are to be had all around, especially directly above, although some local properties may give off some stray light."

Stile Cop Car Park, Stile Cop Road, Rugeley, WS15 1QR

"Stile Cop car park offers mountain bikers access to nearby trails by the daytime and is a great spot to view the dark starry skies by night. The car park is surrounded by trees, affecting views towards the horizons; however, the trees also block surrounding light pollution, leaving excellent views of the skies above Cannock Chase AONB."

Seven Springs Car Park, Little Haywood, Stafford, ST17 0XA

"Seven Springs car park is situated within Cannock Chase AONB and is a great location to escape local light pollution. The trees surrounding the car park block direct light from nearby Little Haywood, affording some excellent views of the dark skies above."

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