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updated 1/21/2013 4:46:09 PM ET 2013-01-21T21:46:09

The planet Jupiter and Earth's moon will star is a dazzling spectacle in the night sky tonight, weather permitting. But even if bad weather spoils your view, you can see celestial show live online in a free webcast.

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Jupiter and the moon will appear just a finger-width apart tonight for stargazers across North America. In South America, some observers may even see Jupiter slip behind the moon in an amazing occultation. The extreme close encounter between the planet and moon is a must-see, even if clouds block your view.

The online skywatching website Slooh Space Camera will provide free telescope views of Jupiter's encounter with the moon during a 30-minute webcast that begins at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT).  You can watch the webcast of Jupiter and the moon on SPACE.com tonight.

Slooh president Patrick Paolucci, astronomer Bob Berman of Astronomy Magazine and astro-imager Matt Francis of the Prescott Observatory will present the live views of Jupiter and the moon. You can access webcast directly here: http://www.slooh.com.

"By good fortune, the Great Red Spot will be traveling across the middle of Jupiter's disk during Slooh's live broadcast," Slooh officials said. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a colossal storm at least twice the size of Earth that has been observed on Jupiter since the 1600s.

Jupiter and the moon will appear at their closest at different times depending on your viewing location, according to Sky & Telescope magazine. In Eastern North America, it will occur at 11:30 p.m. EST while further inland it occurs at 10 p.m. CST. Moving westward, the peak viewing time will be at 8:30 p.m. MST for stargazers in the Mountain Time Zone, while West Coast observers should look up at 7 p.m. PST.

There is even a chance for stargazers to see Jupiter in daylight, magazine officials said.

"You'll also get an opportunity to attempt an unusual feat: spotting Jupiter in the late afternoon, before the sun sets," says Tony Flanders, associate editor at Sky & Telescope magazine and host of SkyWeek on PBS. "First locate the moon medium-high in the east; then look a few moon-widths left or lower left of the moon for Jupiter. It should be easy to spot with binoculars if the air is clear."

More seasoned amateur astronomers with good telescopes may want to search for Jupiter's moon Europa with their telescopes. The icy moon will cross in front of Jupiter as seen from Earth tonight between 8:13 p.m. to 10:37 p.m. EST (5:13 to 7:37 p.m. PST/ 0113 and 0337 GMT). Europa's shadow on the moon will cross Jupiter a bit later, from 10:22 p.m. to 12:46 a.m. EST (7:22 to 9:46 p.m. PST/0322 to 0546 GMT), magazine officials said.

There is one more bright object to check out during tonight's cosmic display: the bright star Aldebaran. The star will shin to the lower left of Jupiter throughout the evening. The star clusters Hyades and Pleiades also promise to dazzle, according to Sky & Telescope.

While Jupiter and the moon will appear extremely close to each other in the night sky, tonight's event won't be the last for the two objects. On March 17, Jupiter and the moon will have another change to appear to have a celestial encounter.

Editor's note: If you snap an amazing photo of Jupiter and the moon, or any other night sky view, that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, send photos, comments and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

You can follow SPACE.com Managing Editor Tariq Malik on Twitter@tariqjmalik. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter@Spacedotcomand onFacebook.

© 2013 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.

Photos: Month in Space: January 2014

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  1. Southern stargazing

    Stars, galaxies and nebulas dot the skies over the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile, in a picture released on Jan. 7. This image also shows three of the four movable units that feed light into the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, the world's most advanced optical instrument. Combining to form one larger telescope, they are greater than the sum of their parts: They reveal details that would otherwise be visible only through a telescope as large as the distance between them. (Y. Beletsky / ESO) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A balloon's view

    Cameras captured the Grandville High School RoboDawgs' balloon floating through Earth's upper atmosphere during its ascent on Dec. 28, 2013. The Grandville RoboDawgs’ first winter balloon launch reached an estimated altitude of 130,000 feet, or about 25 miles, according to coaches Mike Evele and Doug Hepfer. It skyrocketed past the team’s previous 100,000-feet record set in June. The RoboDawgs started with just one robotics team in 1998, but they've grown to support more than 30 teams at public schools in Grandville, Mich. (Kyle Moroney / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Spacemen at work

    Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, right, and Sergey Ryazanskiy perform maintenance on the International Space Station on Jan. 27. During the six-hour, eight-minute spacewalk, Kotov and Ryazanskiy completed the installation of a pair of high-fidelity cameras that experienced connectivity issues during a Dec. 27 spacewalk. The cosmonauts also retrieved scientific gear outside the station's Russian segment. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Special delivery

    The International Space Station's Canadian-built robotic arm moves toward Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus autonomous cargo craft as it approaches the station for a Jan. 12 delivery. The mountains below are the southwestern Alps. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Accidental art

    A piece of art? A time-lapse photo? A flickering light show? At first glance, this image looks nothing like the images we're used to seeing from the Hubble Space Telescope. But it's a genuine Hubble frame that was released on Jan. 27. Hubble's team suspects that the telescope's Fine Guidance System locked onto a bad guide star, potentially a double star or binary. This caused an error in the tracking system, resulting in a remarkable picture of brightly colored stellar streaks. The prominent red streaks are from stars in the globular cluster NGC 288. (NASA / ESA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Supersonic test flight

    A camera looking back over Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's fuselage shows the rocket burn with a Mojave Desert vista in the background during a test flight of the rocket plane on Jan. 10. Cameras were mounted on the exterior of SpaceShipTwo as well as its carrier airplane, WhiteKnightTwo, to monitor the rocket engine's performance. The test was aimed at setting the stage for honest-to-goodness flights into outer space later this year, and eventual commercial space tours.

    More about SpaceShipTwo on PhotoBlog (Virgin Galactic) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Red lagoon

    The VLT Survey Telescope at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile captured this richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula, released on Jan. 22. This giant cloud of gas and dust is creating intensely bright young stars, and is home to young stellar clusters. This image is a tiny part of just one of 11 public surveys of the sky now in progress using ESO telescopes. (ESO/VPHAS team) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Fire on the mountain

    This image provided by NASA shows a satellite view of smoke from the Colby Fire, taken by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft as it passed over Southern California on Jan. 16. The fire burned more than 1,863 acres and forced the evacuation of 3,700 people. (NASA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Where stars are born

    An image captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Orion Nebula, an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away. This false-color infrared view, released on Jan. 15, spans about 40 light-years across the region. The brightest portion of the nebula is centered on Orion's young, massive, hot stars, known as the Trapezium Cluster. But Spitzer also can detect stars still in the process of formation, seen here in red hues. (NASA / JPL-Caltech) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Cygnus takes flight

    Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket rises from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va, on Jan. 9. The rocket sent Orbital's Cygnus cargo capsule on its first official resupply mission to the International Space Station. (Chris Perry / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A long, long time ago...

    This long-exposure picture from the Hubble Space Telescope, released Jan. 8, is the deepest image ever made of any cluster of galaxies. The cluster known as Abell 2744 appears in the foreground. It contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago. Abell 2744 acts as a gravitational lens to warp space, brightening and magnifying images of nearly 3,000 distant background galaxies. The more distant galaxies appear as they did more than 12 billion years ago, not long after the Big Bang. (NASA / NASA via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Frosty halo

    Sun dogs are bright spots that appear in the sky around the sun when light is refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. These sun dogs appeared on Jan. 5 amid brutally cold temperatures along Highway 83, north of Bismarck, N.D. The temperature was about 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with a 50-below-zero wind chill.

    Slideshow: The Year in Space (Brian Peterson / The Bismarck Tribune via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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