Don’t giggle, but a lot of people are going to be staring at Uranus tonight, as the planet reaches opposition with Earth today.
What that means is that our planet is ‘between’ Uranus and the sun, and the distant ice giant is at its closest to Earth.
Uranus will be out all night long (sorry) and it will be shining at its brightest, experts have said.
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The planet reaches opposition on October 19 (Thursday), so the ice giant and the sun sit on opposite sides of Earth.
As it’s also a new moon, Uranus will be clearly on display.
It’ll be clearly visible in the night sky (possibly even to the naked eye) in the constellation Pisces.
‘It’s visible all night long and its blue-green color is unmistakable,’ said Jane Houston Jones from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
‘It may be bright enough to see with your naked eye – and for sure in binoculars.’
Bruce McLure of EarthSky says, ‘Uranus is quite easy to view with binoculars, although it only looks like a rather faint star. Again, you have to know precisely where to look to find the 7th planet from the sun. Your best bet is to find a good sky chart.’