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Jupiter Is Putting On a Show for You

It will be most clearly visible Monday night but should be big and bright all month
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2019 9:48 AM CDT
From left, planet Venus, the Moon and planet Jupiter are seen in the early morning sky photographed near Salgotarjan, 109 kms northeast of Budapest, Hungary, in January 2019.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Casual sky-watchers interested in getting a nice look at Jupiter have pretty simple advice to follow this month: Go outside at night and look up. Monday night in particular, about midnight local time, should provide the clearest view, reports USA Today. The planet should be visible with the naked eye, but it "looks fantastic through binoculars or a small telescope," advises NASA. With those, you should be able to see not only Jupiter but its four biggest moons. The reason the planet looks so big and bright this month is that it reaches "opposition" on Monday, "the yearly occurrence when Jupiter, Earth and the Sun are arranged in a straight line, with Earth in the middle," per NASA.

At Sky & Telescope, Bob King has advice for amateur astronomers who plan to scope out Jupiter. "In steadily-held 10× binoculars you can pretend you're Galileo and rediscover its four brightest moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto," he writes. "They look like tiny stars 'sticking' to either side of the planet." If you can mount the binoculars on a tripod, great, but if not, "use the roof of your car or pivot them against a corner of a building to keep your glass steady." If conditions are just right, you might also see the banded clouds that encircle the planet. (When Lord Byron waxed poetic about a beloved star, he probably meant Jupiter.)

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