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Thread: Uranus Opposes Sun - 2020 OCT 31

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Cool Uranus Opposes Sun - 2020 OCT 31

    Uranus will appear in opposition to the Sun during 2020 OCT 31. At magnitude +5.7 it may be visible to sharp naked eyes under dark skies, although the Full Moon at the time of opposition would be a hindrance.

    It has always amazed me that Uranus was not discovered until William Herschel pointed a telescope at it in 1781. I would imagine that countless people observed it by naked eye before then, but assumed it was a fixed star and never noticed that over a period of time it changed position relative to the actual fixed stars. I first observed it by naked eye nearly fifty years ago, but of course I knew that it existed and exactly where to look.

    Photos and descriptions of Uranus would be welcome additions to this thread. My Uranus and Neptune webpage including ephemerides can be viewed at
    For astronomical graphics and data visit

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    The Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed miscatalogued Uranus as a star in Taurus about a century before Herschel. Here is a more detailed paper.

    And Galileo saw Neptune when it appeared directly behind Jupiter, but it was stationary at the time so impossible to distinguish from a star.

    Once the moon is down, it will be a good eye test to see Uranus next week. A current star location map is attached.

    ETA: Mars will line up with Uranus on 20 Jan, which will make it easier to find.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2020-Nov-01 at 09:48 AM.

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