1676 Activity: Observing With Binoculars or Telescope

It is not difficult to observe the moons of Jupiter with a small telescope or binoculars. To the unaided eye Jupiter appears as an unusually bright star. It is visible during much of the year, except of course when it is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth.

Several different websites provide information on where to look. Just use a search engine to find “Jupiter in the Night Sky” and you’ll find several to choose from.

You do not even need a tripod, as a typical pair of modern binoculars will reveal greater detail than Galileo’s telescope. However, a tripod makes it easier for several people to share a steady view.

As shown in the drawing above, Jupiter will appear as a small bright disk with three or four tiny “stars” in a row. You might even be lucky enough to see one of the moons disappear as it passes behind or in front of the planet.