Uranus Will Look Spectacular This Month

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Keep your eyes on the skies this month, because you just might catch a glimpse of the distant ice giant Uranus in our Solar System. On October 19, Uranus will be at its closest point to Earth. This is known as opposition, as it will be on the opposite side of the Sun in our skies.

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At this position, it will be “just” 2.7 billion kilometers (1.7 billion miles) from Earth, compared to its most distant position of 3.2 billion kilometers (2 billion miles). Around this time, Uranus might just about be visible with the naked eye in the night sky, appearing a blue-green color. With binoculars or a telescope, you should more easily be able to spot it near the constellation of Pisces in the southeast sky.


Astronomy magazine notes the planet will be especially visible because it will be so high. In fact, it will be at its highest position in the sky during opposition since February 1963. It will have a magnitude (brightness) of about 5.7. This isn’t the only interesting thing in our night sky this month though.

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Around now, Mars and Venus are both visible in the pre-dawn sky, towards the eastern horizon. Again, binoculars might be useful here as the approaching light of the Sun makes it a bit difficult to see. If planets aren’t your thing, then fear not, as we’ve also got a meteor shower this month. The Orionids will peak on October21, which is fortunately going to be a moonless night.


Constellation chart via IAU. We label the star Omicon Piscium in the constellation Pisces for you. This star, which is visible to the eye alone on a dark night, is close to the ecliptic in the sky chart, at the far eastern (or far left) portion of the constellation Pisces. Once you find this star, try star-hopping from there to Uranus.

Looking towards the Orion constellation, you could see about 10 to 15 meteors an hour. Remember, if you’re out and about observing, make sure to wrap up warm. You might want to use an app to track the positions of the planets, and we’d also recommend giving your eyes a good 20 minutes or so to adjust to the darkness.

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5 comments:

  1. Brian weetman05/10/2018, 11:26

    From our little home we can see other planets. That is amazing.

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    1. We can see amazing things. I shot this last week.
      https://scontent-ort2-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/43173605_2332050403473395_7234581314408546304_o.jpg?_nc_cat=110&oh=02da6ea5603ef6ec15c5b3a814b7cdff&oe=5C60D8F1

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  2. Please always put a publication date on your articles!
    I ended up here through a link from a friend, so I had no idea if it’s a new article or an old one – and the inserted image of the 2013 opposition didn’t help either…

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  4. the terms apogee and perigee relate to how close or far in its orbit a planet is from the earth. opposition is an astrological term where the earth is directly between the planets listed as opposed. you used the term opposition incorrectly even though you are correct that the sun and uranus are in opposition today. you meant to say that uranus is at its perigee.

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