This Week’s Night Sky: See Jupiter as a NASA Probe Closes In
Also this week, the moon glides near Leo’s heart and an asteroid slips through Scorpius’s claw.
While the probe is too small to pick out even with the best backyard telescopes, the planet will shine like a creamy-colored star that will be hard to miss. Jupiter’s brightness is due in part to its size but also to the highly reflective clouds that blanket the planet.
Small telescopes with high magnification can reveal extraordinary views of Jupiter’s dynamic and colorful atmosphere, including some of the same cloud structures that Juno will be studying up close. These include two brown cloud belts on either side of the planet’s equator and the Great Red Spot, the largest cyclonic storm in the solar system, which has been raging for at least three centuries.
With just binoculars, viewers can see the gas