Observing

Star-hop your way to viewing planets Uranus and Neptune at their best

23 September 2018 Ade Ashford

Clear nights of early Northern Hemisphere autumn offer ideal opportunities to track down the two outermost planets of the solar system, Uranus and Neptune. What’s more, you don’t need a big telescope to find them. We show you how to locate these gas giants using binoculars. The Moon also passes close to Neptune on 20 October.

News

Thirtieth anniversary of Voyager 2’s encounter with Uranus

24 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Humanity has visited Uranus only once, and that was exactly 30 years ago. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft got its closest look at the mysterious, distant, gaseous planet on 24 January 1986. The probe sent back stunning images of the coldest planet known in our solar system and its moons during the flyby, which allowed for about 5½ hours of close study.

Observing

See planet Uranus at its best in October with the naked eye or binoculars

11 October 2015 Ade Ashford

Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, reaches opposition on 12 October. It is therefore best placed for observation during 2015 and reaches a respectable altitude as seen from the British Isles. It can be seen with the naked eye from dark sky sites, so here is our guide to tracking down this gas giant during October using nothing more than an average binocular.

Picture This

Buried in the heart of a giant

2 July 2015 Astronomy Now

This is a young open cluster of stars known as NGC 2367, an infant stellar grouping that lies at the centre of an immense and ancient structure on the margins of the Milky Way, captured by the Wide Field Imager (WFI) camera on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.