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Jupiter is now rising in the evening sky. Here's how to spot the king of the night.

sky diagram
Jupiter enters the evening sky on July 16. (Image credit: Starry Night)

All hail the king of the planets, newly arrived in the evening sky.

Jupiter is currently rising in the night sky around midnight on the eastern horizon, dominating at an impressive -2.5 magnitude. (Naked-eye stars are visible at as little as magnitude 6; the lower the magnitude the brighter the object.) As the night grows old, the planet will move up within your field of view and away from the muddying horizon, according to geophysicist Chris Vaughan, an amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software who oversees Space.com's Night Sky calendar.

Stick around until dawn, when the largest planet of our solar system will be at its highest and clearest. Or better yet, wait until Tuesday (July 19) morning to see the planet in a conjunction (close approach) with the moon, just three degrees to the celestial southeast.

Related: See the rare alignment of 5 planets and the moon in this stunning night sky photo

It has been a stunning past month for Jupiter, which is not only bright and big in the sky, but also because it lined up with four other naked-eye worlds in the pre-dawn sky in June. This rare five-planet conjunction even had each world in its appropriate order from the sun.

All of these alignments, by the way, took place because the sun, moon and planets are all aligned on a plane in the sky known as the ecliptic. That's the relatively flat orbital plane on which the solar system is centered. In reality, each world is millions of miles (or kilometers) apart.

TOP TELESCOPE PICK!

Celestron Astro Fi 102

(Image credit: Celestron)

Looking for a telescope for the next stargazing event? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 (opens in new tab) as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide.  

Jupiter hosts four moons that are visible in telescopes and very steady, large binoculars. Telescopes may also be able to pick out the bands of weather that the NASA Juno spacecraft is trying to figure out from up close.

Looking for a telescope or binoculars to observe Jupiter, the moon or planets? Our guides for the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals now can help. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography can also help you prepare to capture the next skywatching sight on your own. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.