Picture credits : Stellarium                                                 Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moons over several nights

Picture credits : Stellarium

Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moons over several nights

Jupiter’s Moons

Seeing Jupiter’s moons (the 4 Galilean moons) is easy. Take a pair of binoculars outside when Jupiter is well above the horizon and the view of the planet is at its clearest. If you do not have a tripod to stand your binoculars on, then try one of these simple ways of stopping the wobble of the binoculars:-

  • Rest the binoculars against the side of the house

  • Rest the binoculars on the back of a garden chair

The picture alongside shows Jupiter and its Galilean moons. The moons line up in line with the equator. Some nights you might see 2 moons on either side - 3 on one side and 1 on the other side - 2 on one side and 1 on the other (where has the fourth moon gone?)
- it is either in front or behind the planet. If you watch, over an hour or so, you will see the moon reappear.

The moons are really easy to pick out as bright, white, star-like objects close to Jupiter and change positions all the time (like a mini solar system). The angle of the moons in the view depends on the tilt of Jupiter on its axis. If you want to find out which moon is which, use Stellarium (one of our chosen Top Ten apps/software). Type in the date and time and type in Jupiter in the find/locate section. Then zoom in and you will see the moons with their names.