You can see Jupiter’s moons with your binoculars today

Federico Mansilla
Junio 11, 2019

But June 10 is special when the planet reaches Opposition - an annual occurrence that marks the Earth being aligned exactly between the gas giant and the Sun. This will make it easier to see Jupiter's moons, which are very faint compared to the planet. (It's closer to 9 p.m.in Toronto and eastward.) But waiting until Jupiter rises higher in the sky will help with visibility, since looking at anything along the horizon makes the image shaky and blurry.

See the location of Jupiter's most visible moons by using this calculator. Ganymede, with a crust of ice and rock, is the largest moon in the solar system and bigger than the planet Mercury.

"Jupiter will actually be visible all summer and it will be the brightest thing in the night sky all summer", he said.

In its blog on skywatching updates for the month, NASA wrote: "The solar system's largest planet is a brilliant jewel to the naked eye, but looks fantastic through binoculars or a small telescope, which will allow you to spot the four largest moons, and maybe even glimpse a hint of the banded clouds that encircle the planet".

United States space agency NASA's Juno spacecraft last week captured a stunning image of Jupiter, complete with an "intensely dark vortex" swirling across the planet's volatile surface.

The space agency is hoping to unlock the secrets of its origin and evolution, which could hold clues to the formation of the early solar system.

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The next two nights offer the best opportunity of the year to witness gas giant Jupiter in all its glory.

And if you miss it this year, Jupiter will be at its closest to Earth again in 13 months, in July 2020, astronomers say.

It's not just that opposition that's causing the brighter look this week.

Juno took the iconic image during its 20th flyby of the planet on Wednesday, May 29, when the NASA spacecraft was approximately 9,200 miles from the planet.

The maelstrom of high energy particles travelling at almost the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the Solar System.

Its all-important "brain" - the spacecraft's flight computer - was housed in an armoured vault made of titanium and weighing nearly 400 pounds (172kg).

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