CHICAGO (CBS)– Jupiter is so close and bright right now that, with the help of binoculars, four of its moons may also be visible Monday night.
Jupiter is closer to Earth than it will be at any time this year, because the planet is at opposition; meaning the Earth is right between the Sun and Jupiter.
Typically the third brightest object in the night sky, after the Moon and Venus, Jupiter is always a great sight, but Monday night it’ll be even bigger and brighter.
For the best viewing experience, look at the eastern sky shortly after sunset when Jupiter will be the brightest. Planets can be spotted because they don’t twinkle like stars, they glow.
Later in the evening, Jupiter will climb higher in the sky and may give you an even better view.
The moons line up and look like tiny dots next to the planet. Before midnight Monday, there will be two moons on the left and two on the right.
If you look again at a later time, you’ll see the moons in a different alignment.
Depending on viewing conditions, the cloud bands that give Jupiter its distinctive look may also be visible.
Although Jupiter is at opposition June 10th, Jupiter will still be big and bright for the next couple of weeks.
For more information, visit NASA’s website.
See the location of Jupiter’s most visible moons by using this calculator.