The planet Jupiter will be “the star” of the evening skies this summer. As the brightest object in the sky after the Sun, Moon and Venus, our solar system’s largest planet will be easy to spot against the backdrop of the summer Milky Way.
The planet reaches opposition – the point where it is opposite the sun in the sky or the day Earth goes between the sun and Jupiter – on June 9. The planet passes closest to Earth on June 11th. This makes early to mid-June the best time to catch the planet.
Look for Jupiter to rise in the southeast at the beginning of the month around 9:30pm. By midnight it’ll be high in the south. When we get to the end of June the planet will be up in the evening twilight.
If you have a small telescope point it at the planet to see its belts and bands along with the four giant Galilean moons.
The planet Jupiter – bright star bottom left – seen rising among the stars of Scorpio in late May.