Want to find Jupiter this evening, as the Juno spacecraft is going into orbit around it? It’s easy. Jupiter is the brightest “star” on July, 2016 evenings. It lights up the sky almost immediately after sunset. Go outside, and look generally westward, the direction of sunset. The brightest starlike object up there will be Jupiter.
Jupiter can be seen from all parts of Earth. From mid-northern latitudes, the king planet shines in the southwest sky at nightfall. From the Southern Hemisphere, look in the north to northwest sky as darkness falls.
As evening falls, Mars and Saturn shine on one side of the sky, while Jupiter appears in the west, as shown on the chart below.
Just don’t wait too late at night to try to find Jupiter. For all of us, Jupiter sets in the west in late evening in early July.
Still can’t find it? The moon will swing close to Jupiter on the sky’s dome for several days, centered on or near July 8.
Let the moon guide you to the giant planet.
Bottom line: Charts and other info that’ll let you identify the giant planet Jupiter in the night sky, in July, 2016.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.