Scientists at Glastonbury Observatory are warning that Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, will pass unusually close to the earth later this year – the closest it has been in the last 500 years. And this is particularly important for Glastonbury Tor as it is the highest geographical feature in South West England.
This news comes hot on the tails of the recent supermoon and supersun in 2011, both of which posed their own set of risks to visitors at Glastonbury Tor, while delighting those visitors who are keen on extreme sports.
Kirsten Denier from Glastonbury Observatory is keen to make visitors to the tor aware of the special risks posed by Super Jupiter; “All of the planets go around the sun in a different elliptical orbit and there are times when some get unusually close to each other. Obviously this is all completely normal and has been going on for thousands of years without a hitch. But according to our calculations, later this year when Jupiter flies very close to Somerset a number of things will happen that people need to consider. Anyone with binoculars will have a great time because you will be able to make out details on the surface of Jupiter and its moons that would normally be invisible to all but the most powerful telescope.”
But Denier continued; “However, we anticipate that because Jupiter is so big it will exert a gravitational pull that will make everything in Somerset about 5% lighter. This might not sound like much, but for visitors to Glastonbury Tor who are that much closer the effect is even stronger. If you are planning on pitching a tent on Glastonbury Tor you should consider using twice as many tent pegs, and if you bring a child you should hold its hand firmly while standing on the peak.”
Visitors to Glastonbury Tor might consider weighing themselves down with Kendal Mint Cake, which is available in 10kg bars at the gift shop.