Big skywatching news this week is that planet Jupiter is at its best -biggest and brightest- in the evening sky for the next two weeks. While there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the fact that the gas giant is the closest to Earth on Sept.20th – at closest opposition since the year 1951 – it really won’t be the only chance to see it at its best. In fact any clear night the next couple months will offer up amazing views of the largest planet in the solar system. Here is a little observers guide I wrote up for National Geogprahic this week.
To find Jupiter just look towards the eastern horizon around sunset and higher up the southern sky later at night. You can’t miss it because it will be the brightest star-like object in the entire night sky. Don’t forget to use your binoculars – they will show off the four largest moons of Jupiter lined up beside it. Even the smallest of telescopes will show you the cloud bands that encircle the gas giant and you might even be able to glimpse the famous Great Red Spot – the giant hurricane three times the size of Earth. Definitely worth stepping outside any clear night!
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