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See Uranus Tonight – The Icy Planet at its Closest Point to Earth

19 Oct 2017, 4:02 pm

If your sky is clear tonight, you have the opportunity to see the planet Uranus. According to NASA, the planet will be visible all night long and its blue-green color is unmistakable. It may be bright enough to see with your naked eye–and for sure in binoculars. The moon is also new, keeping light pollution low.

Uranus reach opposition tonight, putting it directly opposite of the sun with the Earth in-between. This will help to make the very dim planet slightly brighter. The planet will be 1,758 million statute miles away from Earth tonight – it’s light will take 3 hours to reach Earth.

Look to the east and southeast after sunset in the constellation Pisces. Near midnight, Uranus and Pisces will be located south and higher in the sky.

EarthSky.org says “Uranus is quite easy to view with binoculars, although it only looks like a rather faint star.” They recommend that once you located Pisces, “star-hop to 4th-magnitude star Omicron Piscium, which is fairly easy to see with the eye alone on a dark night, to the planet Uranus.”

[Constellation chart via IAU]

It is always best to be in rural areas, away from city light, to keep light pollution to a minimum. If your area is covered in clouds, Uranus will still be easily visible with basic telescope or binoculars for the rest of this month.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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