Tonight – September 8, 2017 – the waning gibbous moon and Uranus, the seventh planet outward from the sun, are near each other on the sky’s dome, 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 day or two. Around the world, the moon and Uranus will rise over the eastern horizon by around mid-evening, though you can find out a more specific time from an astronomical almanac.
With the moon so bright and so close to Uranus on the sky’s dome, 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 about 19 astronomical units from Earth at present, this world is pretty easy to see through binoculars – if you know exactly where to look.
People with good vision – and good charts (scroll to bottom of page) – can see Uranus with the unaided eye on dark, moonless nights.
In your quest to locate Uranus, first make friends with the constellation Pisces after the moon leaves the evening sky, starting in a few more days. Familiar with the Great Square of Pegasus? If so, jump off from there to the constellation Pisces the Fishes. Then with a good sky chart and binoculars you just might catch Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun.
Bottom line: The moon and the planet Uranus both reside in front of the constellation Pisces the Fishes on September 8, 2017.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.