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How to locate Uranus on sky’s dome

2016-january-15-moon-and-uranus

Tonight for January 15, 2016

Tonight and tomorrow night – January 15 and 16, 2016 – Uranus, the seventh planet outward from the sun, is near the waxing moon and floating in front of the constellation Pisces the Fishes. Although Uranus will remain within Pisces’ borders for the rest of this year, the moon will leave Pisces after a few more days.

With the moon waxing to full now, you’re not likely to glimpse Uranus with the unaided eye. But keep reading. We give you an idea of its location, and links to detailed charts, in this post.

Uranus was the first planet to be discovered by the telescope, by William Hershel on March 13, 1781. At a distance of 20 astronomical units from Earth at present, this world is pretty easy to see through binoculars – that is, if you know right where to look.

People with good vision – and good charts, like this one – do see Uranus with the unaided eye on dark, moonless nights.

But, with the moon waxing to full now, unaided eye glimpses of Uranus won’t be likely in the coming nights.

Still, you can imagine the location of Uranus on the sky’s dome. And maybe doing so will help you find Uranus later.

You can also star-hop to Uranus via the 4th-magnitude stars Delta Piscium and Epsilon Piscium, and possibly even view Uranus through binoculars on this moonlit night.

Or try your luck after the moon leaves the evening sky, starting in late January 2016.

Click here for a detailed sky chart showing the location of Uranus

The moon moves eastward in front of the constellation Pisces over the next few days. The green line highlights the ecliptic - Earth's orbital plane projected onto the constellations of the Zodiac.

The moon moves eastward in front of the constellation Pisces over the next few days. The green line highlights the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane projected onto the constellations of the Zodiac.

Bottom line: As darkness falls on January 15 and 16, 2016, the moon and planet Uranus both reside in front of the constellation Pisces the Fishes.

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