Reddit | Awesome17

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

The night sky is one of those wonders of life that ought to be for everyone, but for most of us, enjoying a night gazing up at the stars in wonder isn't as easy as it should be. If you're in a city, much of the cosmos will be drowned out by the lights closer to the ground. And if you want to see anything up there in detail, you generally need to invest in costly apparatus and figure out how to use it correctly.

That's why you have to take advantage of opportunities like this when they come up.

It's been a long time since the moon landings, but NASA still manages to capture our imaginations.


In particular, we've learned more and gotten better views of two of the solar system's jewels over the past decade, as the Cassini probe visited Saturn and Juno spent some time at Jupiter. Obviously NASA learned all kinds of things about each planet, but for the rest of us, it was all about the pics.

The Juno mission to Jupiter brought back some mind-boggling images.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

Even before Juno, we knew that Jupiter was both massive and gorgeous, but we had never seen it in such high-definition detail — the Van Gogh-like swirling and whirling of the gas giant's mighty clouds, the many-layered, multicolored bands moving like rivers across the planet's face, the angry knots of storms.

And Juno is still there, taking measurements, collecting data, and snapping pics.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

It's not scheduled to end its mission by plunging into Jupiter's clouds until July 2021, so there's plenty of time left for it to find even more cool things to see.

But seeing things on the internet and seeing them in real life with your own eyes are two profoundly different experiences.

Reddit | BlakPhoenix

Unfortunately, none of us is about to see Jupiter in such detail with our own eyes anytime soon. But the planet is doing its part to help out with the next best thing, to the delight of stargazers everywhere.

For the month of June, Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest in the night sky.

Reddit | ashenk_2

As NASA said, the planet will rise around dusk and stay visible the whole night. And, because it will be at its closest point to Earth, there's no better time to try to check it out.

As the space agency says, Jupiter will be easy to pick out with the naked eye.

Reddit | null_value

And even with a normal pair of binoculars, you'll be able to make out details like its four biggest moons. With a telescope, you might even be able to make out some of those colorful bands that swirl around the planet.

You can't ask for much better stargazing than that!

Filed Under: