It’s that time of year again: our solar system’s biggest planet is nearing opposition.

I’m talking about the approach of Jupiter of course, next week it will be as close to Earth as it’s going to get this year. For the next two weeks or so Jupiter will rise around sunset time, it’s an unmistakably bright light slowly rising in the eastern sky. If you want to see it, go grab yourself a pair of binoculars and have a look at something out of this world…

Tonight was a reasonably clear night for us in Torbay so I set up my tripod in the driveway and had a look through my zoom lens, Marije and I were happy to clearly see Jupiter’s cloudy bands and orbiting moons.

The picture shown above is exposed for the planet’s ‘surface’, the next picture is exposed a bit longer in order to better reveal its four largest moons:

Jupiter and its moons

After comparing that first shot with a very similar shot I took last year, I’m definitely seeing some improvement!