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September 01, 2014

Spaced-Out Challenge: Finding Uranus

uranrot.gif

Uranus as imaged by Don Banfield/Cornell University/Palomar Observatory

Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge! Whether you have a question about equipment, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly astronomical journey.

This week, I'll show you how to find the butt of solar system jokes, perfectly positioned in the sky under Pegasus. So grab your optics, step outside, and I'll show you where to look!


UranusSketchPeterGrego.jpg

Uranus through an 8" telescope by Peter Grego

Discovered over two hundred years ago by William Herschel, its bluish-green disc has fascinated astronomers, amateur and professional alike. Voyager 2 flew by Uranus almost 30 years ago, capturing our most detailed views of this distant ice giant:


along with it's "sound":

You too can capture the seventh planet from the sun, from your own backyard. Start from the Great Square of Pegasus, which is visible in the Eastern sky well before Midnight:
FINDINGURANUSWIDEMAP.png

Follow an imaginary line from Schaet through Algenib, then carefully dip south until you spot the fainter stars of Pisces. Eta Pisces will stand out first, then Delta Pisces to it's north west, which is your next target. Aim your binoculars at it, and you are almost there:

FINDINGURANUSBINOMAP.png

With both eta and delta Pisces in view, slightly fainter Uranus forms a triangle. Can you make out it's color? From larger amateur telescopes at high power, multiple moons can be ascertained.

***

The full Beginner's Buyer's Guide, our Comet Guide (featuring additional grab-and-go telescopes), and any other edition you're looking for can be found in the master index of all Spaced-Out Challenge threads here, but of course you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments.
As always, if you have astrophotography, product recommendations, or astronomy news you'd like to see on a future Spaced-Out Challenge, email me at theoneandonlyfinn (at) gmail.com, or tweet me @conartcritic.

If you have any more questions about your new optics, feel free to ask below.
Until next time, clear skies to you, and keep looking up!

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posted by CAC at 08:05 PM

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