planet Uranus is just about visible in the night sky with the nude eye. Review our tips to spotting the remote planet.

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It’s regularly said the the earth Uranus is clearly shows to the naked eye. However, if girlfriend ask who whether they have actually actually viewed Uranus without a telescope, the prize you’ll typically receive is no.


The factor is the this far-off planet shines in ~ the leaf of naked-eye visibility and any direct views the Uranus aren’t always conclusive.

Most of united state live under much less than perfect skies. An average dark sky will have a limiting size – it is the faintest star you deserve to see – somewhere between mag. +5.0 and also mag. +5.5 (for an ext on this, read our guide on stellar magnitude).


Country locations may push this further, possibly down come mag. +6.0 or even mag. +6.5 from yes, really dark locations.

In addition, the limiting magnitude will certainly vary v altitude on the sky. Although girlfriend might be able to see a mag. +6.0 star at the zenith directly overhead, in ~ 10˚ altitude the story will be completely different.



Fortunately, in November 2020 Uranus is the UK’s best-placed planet, may be to reach an altitude slightly over +50˚ once due south.

It shines at mag. +5.7, tantalisingly close to the quoted usual naked-eye border of +6.0 indigenous a dark-sky site.

Another thing that is in the planet’s favour is that is location against the stars, placing it versus a fairly barren patch of sky. A couple of stars of similar magnitude are nearby, and also these can be supplied productively to navigate towards the planet.

If you do regulate to spot Uranus, you might even be able to capture photo of it. Check out our overview on exactly how to take photos the Uranus and Neptune to uncover out more.


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use the brightness of ours selected guide stars to prepare her eyes because that spotting the planet Uranus in the night sky. Credit: Pete Lawrence

How to see Uranus in the night sky

The first thing to carry out is prepare. Situate a dark spot where you will have the ability to avoid any contact through light sources for at the very least 40 minutes. Obviously, this also method timing your monitoring for a period when the Moon is out of the way.

The duration between 9–22 November must be ideal. Permit yourself 20 minute in full darkness to end up being dark adapted.

Once this is achieved you can locate the 3 brighter stars in Aries, Hamal (Alpha (a)), Sheratan (Beta (b)) and also Mesarthim (Gamma (g) Arietis).

Next, look because that the pentagonal shape that to represent the head the Cetus. The brightest star, Menkar (Alpha (α) Ceti), is the one she after.

Uranus lies 60% that the way along a heat from Menkar towards Sheratan in ~ the begin of the month and also then slips slightly southwest transparent November.


Use our chart above to locate the advantageous guide stars that sit listed below the planet’s position. The selected overview stars room useful due to the fact that they present a variety of magnitudes, which permit you to ‘approach’ the brightness of Uranus.

Start v Mu (m) then Xi2 (ξ2) and also Xi1 (ξ1) Ceti, all shining at mag. +4.3. Currently go dimmer by moving on come 38 Arietis at mag. +5.2 , 31 Arietis in ~ mag. +5.6, and finally mag. +5.7 Xi (ξ) Arietis prior to heading phibìc to Uranus.

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Hopefully you deserve to then include Uranus come the perform of naked-eye planets did you do it seen.


Authors


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Pete Lawrence
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Pete Lawrence is an experienced astronomer and astrophotographer, and a referents on BBC"s The sky at Night.


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