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Jupiter as seen by the Cassini spacecraft. Photo: NASA/JPL/SScI

Look up this week to see Jupiter putting on a show for observers on Earth.

The big picture: The largest planet in our solar system is at its brightest this week. Jupiter is currently in a favorable alignment with Earth and the Sun, allowing the planet to shine brightly through the night and making observing the planet unusually rewarding.

Details: You can spot the huge planet with your naked eye at dusk and through the night all month, according to NASA.

  • Your view gets even better if you have a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. By using one of these tools, stargazers will be able to see the planet’s four largest moons — Ganymede, Europa, Callisto and Io — and possibly Jupiter’s distinctive bands of clouds.
  • Look east after sunset, and you should spot the bright planet shining above the horizon.

Be smart: Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a planet and a star when looking with your naked eye, but there’s a shortcut to avoid that confusion.

  • If an object is twinkling, it’s a star. But if it doesn’t twinkle, it’s probably a planet.
  • A satellite, on the other hand, moves across the sky without blinking, while a plane’s flashing lights give it away.

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

4 hours ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.