Keen stargazers have got their best chance yet to take a glimpse at Jupiter, a Gloucester-based astronomer has said.
John Fletcher, from the Mount Tuffley Observatory, says that the planet has moved into prime position for several months and can be viewed with binoculars or a simple telescope.
He said: "Jupiter is a beautiful planet and there has never been a better opportunity for people to see it. It is in full view now.
"It has 64 moons and it is a beautiful gas planet which you could line 12 Earths along.
"With a stronger telescope you can see its two gas belts as well. People are often amazed when they see the atmosphere if a planet some 440million miles away."
Stargazers can look for Jupiter after dark. It can be found in a south-easterly direction, look up at 60 degrees. Later it moves south and then south westerly.
A 1.5" telescope is enough to see Jupiter in good detail, or a good pair of binoculars will suffice. John recommends resting the binoculars on a fence to give them stability.
Jupiter is disc-shaped and there are four 'twinkly' points surrounding it - these are four of its larger moons.
Those with a better 3" diameter telescope will be able to make out two of Jupiter's gas belts.