Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and a great observing target, look out for the Great Red Spot, the four Gallean moons, transits of the moons and their shadows across the surface of Jupiter.
Almost any telescope or binoculas will allow you to see that Jupiter is a disk, and see the 4 main moons orbiting around the planet, and only modest telescopes are needed to see the bands and zones and some of the changing features on the surface and transits of shaddows and moons across the disk.
You can improve the contrast of some features on Jupiter with the use of filters, however some will block a lot of light so may require a larger telescope.
Wratten #8 (Light Yellow) Improves contrast of the belts and zones.
Wratten #21 (Orange) Improves contrast around the edges of the equitorial belts
Wratten 25A (Red) Improves festoons (bluish clouds) on Jupiter
Wratten 38A (Dark Blue) Improves the Great Red Spot and main equitorial belts
Wratten 58 (Green) Improves polar regions
IR Pass Useful if imaging with a CCD or webcam to steady the seeing and increase contrast.
Whilst CMHASD member views of Venus & Jupiter from the UK were blocked by cloud, two superb images of Venus & Jupiter were captured in the early morning skies of the 28th & 30th April 2022 by member Richard Bohner in Arizona, USA.
The first image taken on the 28th at 04:30 MST was acquired using a Canon 6D, ISO 500 and an 8 second exposure time. Jupiter is on the left and Venus on the right and only 2.3 degrees apart.
The second image, taken on the 30th at 05:00 MST (using a Canon 6D, ISO 500 and a 6 second exposure time) shows Venus & Jupiter appearing even closer together, in fact very close. The planets were separated by the same angular distance as a full moon: about 1/2 degree!!! Three moons of Jupiter; Ganymede, Io and Callisto can also be seen in the 2nd image.
The Venus-Jupiter conjunction happens about once a year but this year the two planets appeared closer than they usually do. The last time the two planets were closer than this year’s conjunction was in August 2016 but it was more difficult to see since they were closer to the sun. The next time they will get this close is in 2039.
Jupiter & Venus 28th April 2022
Jupiter & Venus 30th April 2022
Although Venus and Jupiter appear next to each other in the sky they are nowhere near each other in space. The actual orbit of the planets is around 430 million miles apart (690 million km) nearly five times the Earth–sun distance!
You can also understand why the ancients called planets wanderers too.
All images are copyright. Permission must be sought to from the image owner to the use of any of these images.