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Jupiter Will Be So Close This Month, You Can See Its Moons Using Binoculars

For obvious reasons, it's the best time of the year to be stargazing. If you head out to peer up at the sky, one thing you should definitely be on the lookout for is Jupiter. This month, Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest in the night...

Jupiter stargazing
SSPL/Getty Images

For obvious reasons, it's the best time of the year to be stargazing. If you head out to peer up at the sky, one thing you should definitely be on the lookout for is Jupiter. This month, Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest in the night sky.

We're still a great distance from the gas giant, but it's a great time to bust out a pair of binoculars to see the third brightest object in the night sky. As NASA notes in its monthly "Skywatching Tips," Jupiter will be up all night, so you don't have to slip out at a specific time in order to be able to spot the planet. 

The biggest planet in our solar system is visible to the naked eye even in many cities, but NASA suggests using binoculars or a small telescope this month because you'll get your money's worth. Not only will the colorful planet look gorgeous, but you may also be able to spot the planet's four biggest moons. You might also catch "a hint of the banded clouds that encircle the planet," says NASA.

As with meteor showers or other celestial events, you'll get the best view by getting far from city lights. You'll also want to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. Translation: put your phone away. (Maybe just after you use your stargazing app to locate Jupiter and other attractions in the sky.) It's a great opportunity for some casual stargazing since you can do this anytime, and it doesn't take a master's degree to participate. 

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer on the news team at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.