Uranus will be visible from Earth tonight – this is how you see the ice giant

Uranus will be visible from Earth tonight – this is how you see the ice giant

Our solar system’s mysterious seventh planet doesn’t get nearly as much attention as some of its brethren. But Uranus is a fascinating celestial body, and your chance to get a closer look is here.

Uranus will reach perigee at night at 3 a.m. EST, or the closest point in its orbit to Earth. It will reach opposition at the same time, meaning the sun and Uranus will be at opposite points in the sky from Earth’s vantage point. This combination of events means that Uranus will be extra bright in the night sky and visible in the night sky for an extended period of time – essentially all night.

Of course, Uranus will still be very far from Earth: 18.69 astronomical units, or more than 1.74 billion miles, at the time of opposition, according to the skywatching site In-The-Sky.org. in extreme dark skies devoid of light pollution from both cities and the moon, you might see Uranus with the naked eye as a faint dot. But the best way to view the planet is through a telescope, be it a backyard or an observatory, or maybe even a powerful one. binoculars.

Through a telescope you will probably be able to see the blue-green hue of Uranus, but not the 13 faint rings, which are extremely slanted. The planet is one of two ice giants in our system – the other is Neptune – and its composition is mainly water, methane and ammonia, by NASA. And yes it does rain diamonds over there.

Don’t worry if you can’t get to a telescope for a closer look. Uranus will remain clear in the night sky for some time, due to the time it takes to orbit the sun (orbital period is 84 years). And we may even take a closer look in the coming decades. NASA researches development an Uranus mission which could launch in the 2030s. So far, only the Voyager 2 spacecraft has made a close encounter with the planet in 1986.

Until then, over the next few days, satisfy your curiosity about the seventh planet with a brief glance through a telescope. To locate the planet, we recommend using a stargazing app such as SkySafari, Sky Guide or Night Sky.

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