Jupiter's largest moon easy to view Monday night

Mindy Sparks
June 11, 2019

Jupiter is so close and bright right now that, with the help of binoculars, four of its moons may also be visible Monday night.

According to stargazing tips from NASA, Jupiter will be "at its biggest and brightest this month, rising at dusk and remaining visible all night".

That is when Jupiter, the Earth and the Sun are arranged in a straight line with Earth in the middle.

NASA reports that this glimpse of Jupiter's largest moons happens about once a year.

This cosmic event only happens once every 13 months, so if you miss out tonight, you'll have to wait over a year for a chance to see Jupiter up close. Look closely, the space agency advises, and you will see that the moon doesn't trace the same path followed by Earth and other planets orbiting the sun. While this arguably doesn't sound like most people's idea of close, the Earth's average distance to the monstrous planet is 786,884,800 kilometres. But NASA has earmarked the whole month as offering optimum views.

That most visible object in the southern sky will still appear as a distant dot, but you don't exactly need a high-grade telescope to check it out in detail - a pair of decent binoculars should do the trick. Planets can be spotted because they don't twinkle like stars, they glow. Also, if a moon crosses in front of Jupiter - called a transit - it is lost in the planet's glare to those using binoculars. "Even when it's low down, it will look pretty steady, and that will make it stand out". If you miss this chance, you can still catch images of Jupiter captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft, which is now orbiting the massive planet.

"My advice to people would be to go out and have a look because it's a attractive sight and it's really quite a thing to realize that when you are looking at the moons with a pair of binoculars - when you see them moving from one night to the next - 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 center", Massey said.

If you want a closer look at the planet, NASA's Juno spacecraft is now orbiting Jupiter and sending back some fantastic images, the agency said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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