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Observe planet Uranus at its best in the autumn sky

27 Oct 2019, 10:02 UTC
Observe planet Uranus at its best in the autumn sky
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Magnitude +5.7 planet Uranus hovers on the edge of naked-eye visibility at opposition on 28 October when it lies about 48° above the southern horizon at midnight for observers in the UK. This widefield chart shows the planet’s retrograde motion against the stars of Aries from 1 November to 1 December 2019. Click the graphic for a PDF version suitable for printing and use outside. AN graphic by Ade Ashford.Under optimal conditions, how many planets can you see? Aside from the one beneath your feet, most observers would say five: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. If we assume a naked-eye limit of magnitude +6 for a keen sighted individual from a location devoid of moonlight and light-pollution, there is one other planet we can add to the list – Uranus*.
Portriat of Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), discoverer of Uranus, by John Russell, circa 1795. Russell was also an amateur astronomer, producing studies of the Moon in watercolour and oil.Although Uranus holds the distinction of the first planetary discovery by Sir William Herschel on 13 March 1781, its relative brightness means that it was observed by other astronomers on a number of previous occasions, but mistaken for a star owing ...

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