Bath Astronomers

October Night Sky

If you have been struggling to find Neptune low in the south in September, then October offers an easier target as Uranus comes to opposition on the 15th of the month. It is still in Pisces, but is now well above the celestial equator, and is continuing its steady climb north in our skies (and it will be back at the Gemini/Taurus border where Herschel first discovered it in the early 2030s, having by then done just three orbits of the sun since ). However, there is no need to wait that long for a good view! Uranus at opposition is magnitude 5.7 or so, and so in theory visible with the naked eye under ideal conditions (though I never have). But it is an easy binocular object, and therefore likewise in a sensible sized finder scope. It will look star like in both of these, of course, but even moderate  magnification through the telescope will reveal a small blue-ish disc. Some observers with more skill or patience than me can detect some detail as well, but I am glad enough to simply enjoy the sight. The map below shows you where to find it, looking south east at about 10 pm early-ish in the month.

Uranus in October 2016