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Jupiter Will Be So Close You Can See Its Moons With Binoculars

08 June 2019

Jupiter should come closest to Earth near the middle of the month and, while it will still be very, very far way, we should be able to spot Jupiter and some of its larger moons with nothing more than a pair of binoculars as it enters its period of opposition on June 10th.

NASA announced in a release that Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest for the next three weeks, with its four largest moons and cloud bands both being visible from earth with the help of just binoculars.

Why does Jupiter look so big this month?

The planet rises at dusk and can be seen all night with the naked eye. With a small telescope you may even catch a glimpse of the famous Giant Red Spot and its banded clouds. The month of June is prime time for seeing Jupiter because the giant planet reaches the point in its orbit where it's closest to the Earth.

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Jupiter stands out in this marble-like portrait from NASA, processed by Kevin Gill.

Another skywatching opportunity is happening this month. Those who are watching from the Southern Hemisphere will get a much clearer view.

Dr. Robert Massey, deputy executive director at Britain's Royal Astronomical Society, offered some advice on what to look out for. You might want to also contact local planetariums to see if they have any special events in conjunction with Jupiter's June appearance.

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Jupiter has 79 known moons, including the four large moons discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610.

"My advice to people would be to go out and have a look because it's a lovely sight and it's really quite a thing to realise that when you are looking at the moons with a pair of binoculars it's worth reflecting on the fact that it was that discovery that cemented our view of the solar system as having the sun at the centre", Massey concluded.

First, the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, takes center stage. Currently, NASA's spacecraft Juno is orbiting the planet and has given some stunning footage in the oast few years.

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Jupiter Will Be So Close You Can See Its Moons With Binoculars