If you love gazing at the stars at night, we have good news for you: Today, June 10, will be the best night of the year to gaze at Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.
That’s because the gas giant will be directly opposite the sun. Basically, opposition means Jupiter, the Earth, and the Sun will be aligned. It’s special because when celestial objects are directly opposite the sun, they appear brighter in the sky. And because Jupiter will be near its closest distance to the Earth this year, it will appear slightly bigger. Jupiter reaches opposition once every 13 months — so you won’t want to miss this opportunity to see it and its four brightest moons.
If you don’t have a telescope, you’ll still be able to see the gas planet shining brighter than everything around it. But if you do have a telescope, then you could be able to see a few of the individual cloud belts on Jupiter, and perhaps even the Great Red Spot. Need help finding it? A smartphone app like Sky Guide should be able to point you the way.