The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter’s cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.
Tonight, imagine you’re Galileo, 400 years in our past. The telescope is a fairly new invention, and you’re the first person to think of pointing it at the sky. What’s this? Little dots around Jupiter? And each night, they move around like …. MOONS?!?