Catch Jupiter in the Evening Sky

Anyone out looking for Jupiter last night had an easy go of it, as it appeared to sit just about 5º away from the waning gibbous Moon. While the dazzling pale yellow point of light is striking even to the naked eye, a modest telescope or even a decent pair of binoculars, reveals four of Jupiter’s moons: Ganymede, Europa, Io, and Callisto (pictured here from bottom left to top right). Jupiter has a known total of 63 moons, but the four largest are known as the Galilean moons, named after Galileo Galilei, who first discovered them with his telescope in 1610.

If you missed seeing Jupiter and the Moon last night, don’t worry. They’ll both be close to one another again tonight, and Jupiter is easily visible as a brilliant object in the night sky all winter and throughout most of the spring. Right now, Jupiter rises in the east about an hour after sunset.