The Ultimate Guide to Observing Jupiter through a Telescope

Beyond the asteroid belt lies the fifth and most massive planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. It was named after the powerful Roman god and the fourth brightest object in the Solar System after the Earth after the Sun, Moon, and Venus.

Jupiter is easy to locate and appears larger and brighter to the naked eye than surrounding stars, attracting curious stargazers. This article will act as a guide to observing Jupiter through a telescope.

  • Use an astronomy app to find Jupiter

For observers in the Northern Hemisphere, Jupiter will position itself in the early morning sky before March. Using an astronomy app such as Celestron’s SkyPortal mobile app is the easiest and most modern way to locate and learn about celestial objects.

  • The best equipment for viewing Jupiter

Any small telescope with an aperture of 60mm to 90mm will reveal Jupiter’s four brightest moons, even the cloud belts and zones. Using binoculars of 8×42 or finderscope 9×50 will quickly reveal the four Galilean moons. However, Maksutov-Cassegrain and Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes are the best picks for telescopes.

If you want to observe Jupiter’s more prominent features, consider using a larger telescope. Colour filters are another way to enhance its atmosphere’s subtle features for a more enjoyable observing experience.

  • What to look for while observing Jupiter

There are many cool features to see on and around Jupiter that can be mesmerizing. You’ll be able to see the brightest Galilean moons through most amateur telescopes and binoculars. You’ll also be able to see its belts and zones. Cloud bands have different temperatures and chemical make-up that results in different colours.

Dark coloured bands are known as belts. In contrast, light-coloured bands known as zones. The view with a modest telescope will reveal the two main cloud belts that appear as dark stripes across Jupiter’s surface.

Great Red Spot: Jupiters most famous feature, the Great Red Spot (aka GRS), is its biggest attraction. The GRS is an anticyclonic storm measuring nearly 15 000 miles in diameter and is large enough to contain two Earths side by side. Winds can reach over 270 miles per hour, faster than the strongest hurricane ever recorded on Earth.

  • Best times to view Jupiter

Evening: Visible from January 1 through January 9 very low in the south-western sky

Morning: Visible from February 17 to August 18. On March 5, Jupiter will be in conjunction with Mercury in the east before dawn.

Evening: Visible from February 17 to August 18.

We hope that this guide has helped you to understand the mighty planet of Jupiter. With its many distinct features, Jupiter is a wonder to observe for both amateur and experienced astronomers.

Find the best telescopes at Cameraland Sandton.

Original article: Celestron.com