Watch Jupiter, King of the Planets

For the next few months, Jupiter will dominate the evening sky.

Jupiter will be obvious as it rises in the east after sunset. Any optical aid is useful to explore the planet more massive than all the other planets put together.

Binoculars will show up to four tiny dots, Jupiter’s four brightest moons, very near the dazzling disk of the planet. A telescope will help zoom in and increase the apparent brightness of the moons, as well as showing the atmospheric bands which have come and gone over the past decade. A larger scope will show the ‘Great Red Spot’ (more like the pale round spot, but still worth seeing) when it’s on the side of Jupiter facing Earth.

What will you discover at Jupiter for yourself?

PS:  If you want directions to Jupiter, look next to the rising moon this week, especially at full moon, Tuesday the 3rd.

– Next, the planets low in the southwest sky after sunset are also worth following. We are attracted there by superbright Venus, brighter than Jupiter and will be a rival for our attention this spring.

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