See Jupiter’s Four Biggest Moons!

Hey, Sky Fans!

Did you know you can see Jupiter’s four giant “Galilean” moons from your own home? It’s true! All you need is some clear skies toward the south tonight (and for the next few months) and a pair of regular, every-day binoculars.

In even the 35-year-old department store ones like I have, you can see them as four infinitely tiny dots lined up along Jupiter’s equator! Just head out tonight, look for Jupiter along the southern sky, and see what you can see.

Find Jupiter in the southern skies for the next few months

Saturn’s there, too, but it’s twice as far away, and… its moons are much harder to see.

In this super-zoomed-in view from later tonight, from left to right, it’s:
(your view probably won’t be like this)

Super-Zoomed-In-View of Jupiter and its four giant moons July 24, 2020

Callisto: The “Tons of Craters!” one.

Jupiter: The “A Thousand Earths’ll Fit Inside!” one.

Io: The “Sulfur Volcanoes!” one

Ganymede: The “Bigger Than The Planet Mercury” one

Europa: The “Water Ice Covering Its Surface” one.

That’s four of the solar system’s six biggest moons. Can you name the other two?

I hope you’ll take a look. Clear skies, everyone!

12 Comments

    1. Cool. One day I’ll get myself a better scope.

      Maybe you would know… Someone asked me, and I had no idea other than to say “mountaintop-sized”, but how big a scope would you need to be able to tell which moon is which? Educated guessing would be okay as long as you could see *some* rough or vague detail.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HI, Scott,
        In a small scope, Jupiter’s moons look different with slightly different brightnesses.
        In a moderate scope, Io is a bit yellow/reddish (not sure which) and Callisto is a bit grayer than shiny Ganymede and Europa.
        In a large scope (maybe 14 inches), they have a disc and the size difference can be seen.
        So I’m told.
        I’m not sure these features would be apparent to the casual observer. I don’t remember if I’ve been able to tell the difference, except for brightness or the size of their shadows.
        I have seen photos where we can see patterns on the moons. It’s pretty amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great! I’m glad you could. I was able to see then, too, but they were a bit blurry and wobbly. Probably a bit of unsettled air, I guess. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      Like

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