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Uranus visible in UK night sky tonight – How to see planet

ByReport2

Nov 14, 2023

If you're looking up into the night sky tonight, November 13, you are in luck, as you may be able to spot Uranus.

The 'ice cold' planet is one of the most distant in the solar system making its appearance a very rare and special occasion.

Uranus's rare sighting comes as the planet will look much bigger than it normally does to the naked eye, however, you may still want some binoculars to see Uranus.

Find out how you can see Uranus in the UK night sky tonight and why it is so prominent today.

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How you can see Uranus in the UK today

It's expected that from 11.30pm tonight, Uranus will be bigger and brighter than usual, as long as there are clear skies.

Uranus always appears bigger and closer in November due to a scientific event called 'opposition'.

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According to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, a planet opposition is when during orbit "the Earth finds itself directly between the sun and another planet", in this case, Uranus.

With Uranus being in the opposition position, it means the 'ice planet' becomes the closest to Earth at that point.

The light from the sun reflects off the opposition planet, allowing it to also look brighter in the sky than it normally is.

Tonight, Urnuas is expected to look similar to a star due to how bright it will be, despite it being 1.6 billion miles away from Earth.

As the Royal Greenwich Observatory explains: "Some of the best times to see planets in the night sky occur when they are at opposition.

"During opposition, the planet appears at its largest and brightest, and it is above the horizon for much of the night."

Only five planets in the solar system can be in opposition with the Earth, Mars Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The best chance of seeing Uranus is to grab "a pair of binoculars or a small telescope which will help considerably, making it visible even in bright cities if you are lucky" according to Royal Observatory’s Dr Greg Brown.

Adding: "If you are struggling to find it, look for two easy-to-spot sights: the almost unmissable bright point of light that is the planet Jupiter and the bright cluster of stars known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters – Uranus will be almost exactly halfway between the two."

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