Jupiter is one of the planet watcher's greatest delights.
It offers a wealth of ever-changing detail that can be seen in almost any telescope.
It also rewards patience, since observers who take the time to become familiar with this planet benefit the most.
As with any planet, taking advantage of nights of good seeing is the key to enjoyable observing, and the view gets better the longer you look. If your telescope has a motorized equatorial mounting, it is worth taking the trouble to align it so that the drive tracks correctly.
What can you expect to see? With a 2.4 inch (60 mm) telescope and 50x to 100x magnification, you should be able to see two broad dusky belts paralleling the equator. Through a 4 inch (100 mm) scope at 100x or more, you can detect several more bands extending into higher latitudes. And with 6 inch (150 mm) or larger scopes, use 150x to 300x and the view will be overwhelming— details will cover most of Jupiter's disk and quickly pass in review as the planet rotates.
The bright zones and dark belts display subtle shades of brown, tan, yellow, orange, and blue-gray. The north and south equatorial belts are the most constant, but all the bands vary in strength and change position slightly. The edges of the bands become irregular, developing projections and indentations as storms stir up the clouds, and winds reach speeds of up to 250 miles per hour (400 km/h).