This evening, be sure to look up to the sky as Jupiter will be putting on a show with the planet being at its brightest and most visible.
While it won’t be twinkling, you’re sure to see it without the help of a telescope or binoculars as it’ll appear as a ‘bright star’ despite Jupiter being 365 million miles from Earth at its closest.
And not only is the hefty planet the biggest in our solar system, but it also has many more moons than the others, too.
So, if you’re hoping to get clued up ahead of the mystical display this evening, we’ve got some insights for you.
How many moons does Jupiter have?
Jupiter currently has 79 known moons, with a dozen having been discovered in 2018.
Of these 79 moons, 53 have names including Dia, Thebe and Kale, while the other 26 are yet to be named.
The names of the moons are chosen by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) but some were chosen from a competition by Carnegie Science.
Rules of the competition included the suggested names being under 16 characters and one word, along with ensuring they were: ‘Named after characters from Roman or Greek mythology who were either descendants or lovers of the god known as Jupiter’.
The planet’s four largest moons are called Io, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede and are known as the Galilean moons.
And though Jupiter already has plenty, a study from the University of British Columbia has shown that there could potentially be at least 600 more moons that are yet to be discovered.
By closely analysing imagery of Jupiter, scientists looked into less visible moons that could still be seen orbiting the planet. From the results, which found 52, they came to the conclusion that they could be missing hundreds more.
Will you be able to see Jupiter’s moons?
You can see a handful of Jupiter’s moons, but will need to use a good pair of binoculars or a telescope to do so.
Its moon Ganymede is the largest in our solar system and one of the planet’s four moons that are visible from earth.
And if you’re gazing into the night’s sky this evening, Ed Bloomer, a Royal Observatory astronomer says: ‘The Galilean moons (Jupiter‘s four largest moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) will look like pinpricks of light in orbit around Jupiter.’
So, whether you’re just looking to catch a glimpse of the planet this evening, or want to soak up the event properly with a pair of binoculars, you’re in for a real treat.
Share your views in the comments below