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Moon near Uranus on November 29

Tonight – November 29, 2017 – as the moon travels in front of the constellations of the zodiac, it’ll appear in the general direction of the planet Uranus. Tonight is a good night to locate the constellation Pisces, which is behind the moon and Uranus now. Then you can search for the stars of Pisces again – and maybe find Uranus, too – in a dark country sky during the second and third week of December, after the moon has dropped out of the evening sky.

Near-infrared view of the ice giant planet Uranus, its rings and some of its moons. Image via European Southern Observatory.

What will you see of Pisces on this moonlit night? You might at least pick out the Circlet, which is a noticeable asterism within Pisces. (See the sky chart of the constellation Pisces below.)

Most stargazers need binoculars, a moon-free night and a detailed sky chart, like the one here via Sky & Telescope to see Uranus. This world is bigger than Earth, but it’s also 20 times farther from the sun than Earth is from the sun.

If you’re familiar with the Great Square of Pegasus and the Circlet of Pisces, make use of these star patterns to map out the general vicinity of Uranus. Uranus resides in front of the constellation Pisces and near the ecliptic.

Sky chart of the constellation Pisces

The constellation Pisces is best seen on a moonless night. Many stargazers use the Square of Pegasus to locate Pisces. Click here for a sky chart showing you Uranus' position in Pisces for 2015.

The constellation Pisces is best seen on a moonless night. Many stargazers use the Square of Pegasus to locate Pisces. Click here for a sky chart showing you Uranus’ position in Pisces for 2017.

This detailed sky chart is your ticket to finding the planet Uranus.

Uranus is the seventh planet outward from the sun. Even on a moonless night, Uranus appears no brighter than the faintest visible stars.

The moon – presently in front of the constellation Pisces – is waxing toward full and will be in front of the constellation Taurus on the night of the full moon.

The moon with clouds and a contrail. Faint planet Uranus is at the arrow tip. Photo taken November 21, 2015 by Nikolaos Pantazis in Greece.

The moon with clouds and a contrail. Faint planet Uranus is at the arrow tip. Photo taken November 21, 2015 by Nikolaos Pantazis in Greece.

Bottom line: On the night of November 29, 2017, the moon is located along our line of sight to the faint planet Uranus. But don’t expect to see Uranus in the moon’s glare.

Easily locate stars and constellations during any day and time with EarthSky’s Planisphere.

Bruce McClure

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