Jupiter spends its 2013-2014 apparition in Gemini, about as far north as it ever gets in the celestial sphere. This is good news for northern observers, who can see Jupiter for a very long time and quite high in the sky.
Jupiter is reasonably well-placed for telescopic observing from August 2013 through May 2014. At the beginning of this period, Jupiter is visible only around dawn, but by November the king of planets is fairly high in the sky by midnight or earlier.
Jupiter with three of its Galilean satellites: Io, Europa, and Callistor (left to right), recorded on March 16, 2003.
S&T: Richard Tresch Fienberg
Virtually any telescope will show Jupiter's four Galilean moons and their interesting interactions with the planet or its shadow. During the course of every revolution, Io, Europa, and Ganymede pass in front of and then behind Jupiter’s disk, but Callisto passes north or south of Jupiter's disk during this apparition, due to the tilt of Jupiter's equator and Calliisto's orbital plane.
For the convenience of telescopic observers, we are making available a list of Jupiter's satellite phenomena from September through December 2013 to supplement the monthly lists that usually (but not always) appear in Sky & Telescope.
Phenomena of Jupiter's Moons, September - December 2013
The Great Red Spot can only be seen when it's near the center of Jupiter's rapidly rotating disk.
S&T: Sean Walker
Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot (GRS) is much harder to spot than the Galilean moons. Although it's quite large, the low contrast of the GRS can make it hard to see unless Jupiter is quite high above the horizon and the astronomical seeing
is quite good. In addition, you need a reasonably big telescope (preferably at least 6 inches of aperture) with good optical quality.
But most important of all, you can only see the GRS when it's on the side of Jupiter that's facing Earth. And it's only reasonably easy to see within about an hour of the time that it transits, passing halfway across Jupiter's disk during each 9-hour and 55-minute rotation.