All the books say it is posible to see uranus with the naked eye. Is this true and if so what am I looking for. I know its near Jupiter and I will be using iether binoculers or my 4" scope. Would it be better to wait until the moon has gone again in a fortnight or so?
Yes Mike, it is close to Jupiter. I am impatiently waiting for some clear nights with good seeing. I,m currently upgrading my optics on my 10" dob to help me to view the moons of Uranus, or should I say spot the moons.
Hi Mike - yes, we checked it out a couple of weeks ago, and was close to Jupiter. It is small, but you can see a bit of colour to its disc - blueygreen. I would find it hard to see with your naked eye though.
The Moon shouldnt be a problem if looking through a scope, unless its right on Jupiter. Your 4" should be fine for it.
If you download Stellarium (free and great) you can zoom in on Jupiter and see exactly where Uranus is. www.stellarium.org
Am at work so cant do it, but will do a screenshot tomorrow from Stellarium to show you.
Neptune is a lot harder, well I thought so anyway.
Thanks for that Liz, I'll have to give Uranus a go - I didn't think I'd see much at all.
And crikey Jupiter is very bright at the moment - esp. after viewing it when your eyes have been dark adapted for a while. Ended up going back inside the house to open up my pupils and get used to light!
As promised, a stellarium image ..... Its a pretty quiet starfield around Jupiter at the moment,so should be a bit easier. Uranus is just north of it (or south in your scope), give it a go, and take your time looking and using averted vision, the coloured disc will announce 'Uranus'.
I have been soooo tempted, dont worry about that ..... but I will bend over backwards to help others spot Uranus, such is the person I am.
Yes a very unfortunate thread title indeed
Mike, Uranus can be visible to the naked eye under good skies. I personally have spotted it with the naked eye many years ago in the middle of central NSW. Unfortunately most of us have Buckley's theses days, with all the light pollution. But a pair of binos should pick it up in the 'burbs.
After Uranus, go for Neptune, then Pluto (I'm still old school, so I class Pluto as one of the "original nine" planets)
Found this from Jodrell Band Centre for Astrophsics -
..'This month, Uranus lies a few degrees to the right of Jupiter. On the first of August, Uranus, at 5.8 magnitude, is close to a 6.3 magnitude star which lies between it and Jupiter some 3 degrees to its lower left. As the month progresses, Jupiter closes on Uranus and at month's end is just 1 degree 45 arc minutes to its lower left, just below the 7th magnitude star and so forming a right angle triangle. Given a small telescope you may resolve the 3.6 arc second greenish-blue disk. With Jupiter on the left, both will be seen together in a binocular field of view and Uranus will be the brightest object in the field after Jupiter.'
Uranus can be seen with the unaided eye, but as pointed out it is around 6th mag and so you would require dark skies, certainly without the Moon. I was able to watch it a few years ago at the Queensland Astrofest, but to be honest I didn't even try to spot it this year. Jupiter is also a bright light in the sky, so I'm not sure how this will affect visibility.
I much prefer the old fashioned printed version of charts out in the field.
Uranus is easy to identify through a scope, even if at low power, because of its distinct blue/green colour. High power will begin to just give the disk some volume compared to the surrounding stars.
Neptune is much trickier. The only real way to identify it is with its striking blue colour, much too blue to be a star. A disk is next to impossible to make out. But you need to be patient to spot it. Blue isn't an easy colour for our eyes to make out, especially with such a small target.
Last edited by mental4astro; 14-10-2010 at 08:41 AM.
Reason: more info