Jupiter features brightly in the night skies after midnight next week, appearing alongside the planet Saturn. In June this year, Jupiter reached its point of opposition across from the Sun with Earth directly in-between. But the Has Giant remains visible in the night skies and will remain so well into the night. The best time to see Jupiter is typically between sunset and past midnight.
Jupiter might be the biggest planet in the solar system but it is the second brightest after our cosmic neighbour Venus.
In August, Jupiter tends to make an appearance around dusk when the skies are dark.
According to EarthSky astronomers Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd, Jupiter sets in the early morning hours in early August.
As the month progresses, however, the planet will start to set closer and closer to midnight.
The astronomers said: “By the month’s end, at mid-northern latitudes, Jupiter will set around midnight – 1am Daylight Savings Time.
“By midnight, we mean the middle of the night or midway between sunset and sunrise.
“By the end of the month at temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Jupiter will set by about one hour after midnight hour.”
In order to spot the gassy planet, you will need to look out for the constellation Ophiuchus the Serpent-bearer.
According to Astronomy Magazine, from around August 20, Jupiter will sit against the backdrop of the constellation.
In the first week of the month, the glowing planet featured closely to the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpio.
Ophiuchus sits in the southern skies near the celestial equator.
Jupiter should appear about 25-degrees in the south-southwest “as twilight fades to darkness”.
You can look at Jupiter through a telescope to catch a better glimpse of the planet’s iconic features.
Earlier this month, the planet made an appearance together with the Moon and Saturn.
Astronomer Richard Talcott wrote for Astronomy Magazine: “When viewed through a telescope, the planet shows a 40″-diameter disk and striking cloud-top detail.”
With a bit of luck, you should be able to discern Jupiter’s four Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.