Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/18/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The pretty aquamarine planet will be easy to see with the moon as a guide and a pair of binoculars.

Okay all kidding aside, this week affords one of the best opportunities for you to see the planet Uranus from a dark-sky area near you.

A NASA image of Uranus with the rings highlighted for visibility.

A NASA image of Uranus with the rings highlighted for visibility.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/18/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Uranus, Harvest Moon, planet, faint, seeing, dark sky, guide, binoculars, facts


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The planet Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the  third-largest (in size) in the Solar System. The enigmatic planet shines dimly with a unique blue color and has its own ring system several moons, and spins sideways unlike all the other planets.

The planet was officially discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1781, but was catalogued as a star as early as 1690. Under the darkest-sky conditions it is faintly visible to the naked eye, however even trained skywatchers have difficulty seeing it.

The planet will be next to the full Harvest Moon, which washes out the dark sky, but compensates by serving as a guidepost for the elusive planet. Observers should look to the lower left of the moon on the night of September 19 after it becomes dark. Uranus will appear as a blue-green dot in telescopes or binoculars.

Unfortunately, the planet will not be visible to the naked eye in the glare of the full Moon.

More powerful telescopes will reveal the small disk of the planet, demonstrating that it is not just another star.

Use this handy chart to spot Uranus. (Starry Night Software)

Use this handy chart to spot Uranus. (Starry Night Software)


When you look at the distant planet, you are seeing more than halfway of the way to the edge of our Solar System. Beyond Uranus is only one more planet, Neptune. The minor planets of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris and probably hundreds of undiscovered others that are farther out, but much smaller and more difficult to see. In fact, to spot these you will need a very large telescope such as those found in observatories.

Uranus is a curious planet made even more so because it rotates on its side. It's north pole nearly points toward the plane of the Solar System, likely a result of a cataclysmic collision with another massive planet during its formation. The curious feature means that a day of Uranus lasts 84 Earth years with 42 years of sunlight followed by 42 years of darkness!

The planet also has its own system of rings, just like Saturn, except the rings are virtually invisible to telescopes. The rings were discovered when Uranus passed in front of a star in 1977 and astronomers noticed the starlight dimming and brightening five times just before and after the planetary disk passed in front of the star. Subsequent observations from Earth, Voyager 2, and the Hubble Space telescope eventually revealed a total of 13 rings.

The planet's disk is almost entirely featureless, with its atmosphere composed mostly of water ice, methane, and ammonia, hydrogen, and helium, giving it a distinctive aquamarine or cyan color.

Use the image above to help spot the planet. After Sept. 19, the planet will rise and set with the same group of stars in the constellation Pisces, where it will remain for the next several years. However, the moon will rise later each night and shrink to a crescent, making naked-eye observation of the planet easier over the next two weeks. Spotting it may be more difficult for amateurs however, without the moon as a guide.

Good luck, and let us know in the comments section if you see it!

Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Technology

EYES TO THE HEAVENS: Astronomers say there may be a 'new Saturn moon' Watch

Image of The disturbance in the edge of the ring is 20 percent brighter than its surroundings and about 750 miles long and six miles wide.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All eyes are on the heavens as astronomers theorize that another moon for the ringed planet of Saturn may be on its way. If the heavenly body in the rings of Saturn is confirmed, it would make for the planet's 63rd moon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


IS THE SECOND COMING NIGH? Four blood moons this year all occur on Jewish holidays Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As climate change wreaks havoc worldwide, and relations between the U.S. and Russia reach a low point over Ukraine, some Christians say that the phenomenon of the "Blood moon" may mean that Christ's return is rapidly approaching. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Will Alibaba devour Facebook? China's massive Alibaba is coming to conquer the United States Watch

Image of Yahoo's dominance has since dwindled as Alibaba has since grown into a global powerhouse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ali Baba for those in the west usually means the storybook leader of a gang of fearless, 40 thieves. But this will soon change. A massive e-commerce site from China, Alibaba, with revenue larger than Amazon and eBay combined has decided to go public in the ... continue reading


Drone images reveal more about mysterious buried village in New Mexico Watch

Image of Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico. Thermal images captured by the small drone allowed archaeologists to peer under the surface of the desert floor, revealing never-before-seen structures. LOS ... continue reading


New 'Star Wars' gun fires shells seven times the speed of sound through concrete -- 100 miles away Watch

Image of The rail gun will be mounted on high-speed vessel the USNS Millinocket for sea trials in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A futuristic lethal new weapon capable of firing a shell at seven times the speed of sound has since been successfully tested on land. Conjuring up images of iconic sci-fi villains as Darth Vader, researchers have called the new rail gun as being of 'Star Wars' ... continue reading


KETTLE CALLING THE POT BLACK? Internet search engines exhibiting double standards Watch

Image of An old cliche -- that bears repeating --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Certain cliché sayings come to mind: The kettle calling the pot black, having one's cake and eating it too . Google, along with Facebook and Yahoo have come down hard on the Obama administration for information gathering - but NOW don't want their ... continue reading


Scientists discover massive asteroid hit Earth so hard that oceans evaporated Watch

Image of Earth was struck several times by massive asteroids billions of years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists from Stanford University say they have found evidence of another cataclysmic cosmic collision between Earth and another asteroid billions of years ago. This asteroid, they say, was so large it punched a hole in the Earth's crust and caused earthquakes around ... continue reading


Why is NASA rejecting definitive proof of life on Mars? Watch

Image of Curiosity recently captures this image that shows light on the ground on Mars. NASA thinks it's just a glint off rock or some other similar anomaly.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Curiosity rover has photographed what appears to be light emanating from the ground on Mars. UFO and alien life enthusiasts as well as conspiracy theorists have all claimed the light is evidence of life on the Red Planet. NASA however, is not so sure. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


HANG ON TOTO! Astronomers calculate the speed of the Universe's expansion Watch

Image of Hang on! The universe is expanding at 1 percent per 44 million years, which is fast if you consider the size of the universe is at least 46 billion years in radius!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hold on to your hat, Toto, we're about to leave Kansas. Astronomers say they have calculated the expansion rate of the universe and their discovery is very surprising. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers have long been interested in measuring the expansion ... continue reading


Universe, you really let me down: astronomers disappointed after observation doesn't fit model Watch

Image of Galaxy clusters such as these should be more common throughout the universe than they are.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two professors say they are disappointed with the universe after learning that it is "smoother" and "flatter" than they expected. The compared the discovery to a trip to Switzerland that was switched for a trip to the Netherlands. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter