By Jupiter! The gas giant shines brightly this weekend

The brilliance of Jupiter is clearly visible with the naked eye this weekend. Besides the moon, it's by far the brightest object in the sky. (2510JC7)
The brilliance of Jupiter is clearly visible with the naked eye this weekend. Besides the moon, it's by far the brightest object in the sky. (2510JC7)

The cosmos has a special treat in store for local stargazers this month - as the planet Jupiter dazzles more than any other star or planet in the night skies.

On Saturday, October 29 - this weekend - the Solar System’s largest planet will be at its closest approach to Earth until 2022.

While it is in opposition, it offers a stunningly close view that is sure to mesmerise, whether you own a telescope or not!

For those with a telescope, this is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. Indeed, a medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter’s cloud bands and its four biggest Galilean moons.

With the naked eye, Jupiter is still an impressive sight, outshining everything but the moon in the night skies throughout October.

As a general guide (courtesy of Professor Brian Cox!) astronomy enthusiasts should be confident to know that - if it twinkles, it’s a star, and if it doesn’t - then it’s a planet.