Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/18/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The pretty aquamarine planet will be easy to see with the moon as a guide and a pair of binoculars.

Okay all kidding aside, this week affords one of the best opportunities for you to see the planet Uranus from a dark-sky area near you.

A NASA image of Uranus with the rings highlighted for visibility.

A NASA image of Uranus with the rings highlighted for visibility.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/18/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Uranus, Harvest Moon, planet, faint, seeing, dark sky, guide, binoculars, facts


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The planet Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the  third-largest (in size) in the Solar System. The enigmatic planet shines dimly with a unique blue color and has its own ring system several moons, and spins sideways unlike all the other planets.

The planet was officially discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1781, but was catalogued as a star as early as 1690. Under the darkest-sky conditions it is faintly visible to the naked eye, however even trained skywatchers have difficulty seeing it.

The planet will be next to the full Harvest Moon, which washes out the dark sky, but compensates by serving as a guidepost for the elusive planet. Observers should look to the lower left of the moon on the night of September 19 after it becomes dark. Uranus will appear as a blue-green dot in telescopes or binoculars.

Unfortunately, the planet will not be visible to the naked eye in the glare of the full Moon.

More powerful telescopes will reveal the small disk of the planet, demonstrating that it is not just another star.

Use this handy chart to spot Uranus. (Starry Night Software)

Use this handy chart to spot Uranus. (Starry Night Software)


When you look at the distant planet, you are seeing more than halfway of the way to the edge of our Solar System. Beyond Uranus is only one more planet, Neptune. The minor planets of Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris and probably hundreds of undiscovered others that are farther out, but much smaller and more difficult to see. In fact, to spot these you will need a very large telescope such as those found in observatories.

Uranus is a curious planet made even more so because it rotates on its side. It's north pole nearly points toward the plane of the Solar System, likely a result of a cataclysmic collision with another massive planet during its formation. The curious feature means that a day of Uranus lasts 84 Earth years with 42 years of sunlight followed by 42 years of darkness!

The planet also has its own system of rings, just like Saturn, except the rings are virtually invisible to telescopes. The rings were discovered when Uranus passed in front of a star in 1977 and astronomers noticed the starlight dimming and brightening five times just before and after the planetary disk passed in front of the star. Subsequent observations from Earth, Voyager 2, and the Hubble Space telescope eventually revealed a total of 13 rings.

The planet's disk is almost entirely featureless, with its atmosphere composed mostly of water ice, methane, and ammonia, hydrogen, and helium, giving it a distinctive aquamarine or cyan color.

Use the image above to help spot the planet. After Sept. 19, the planet will rise and set with the same group of stars in the constellation Pisces, where it will remain for the next several years. However, the moon will rise later each night and shrink to a crescent, making naked-eye observation of the planet easier over the next two weeks. Spotting it may be more difficult for amateurs however, without the moon as a guide.

Good luck, and let us know in the comments section if you see it!

Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Technology

Hydrogen-running car to be sold by Toyota Watch

Image of Mirai's compressed hydrogen gas will be stored in two tanks mounted underneath the vehicle. The cars emit no exhaust, although fossil fuels are used in the production of hydrogen and to pressurize it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Toyota, the world's largest auto manufacturer plans to begin selling the world's first hydrogen-powered car. The company only expects to sell 400 in Japan and 300 to the rest of the world immediately - but it's being recognized as the first emission-free made ... continue reading


BACK FROM THE DEAD? Scientific community rages on whether to clone Wooly Mammoth back to life Watch

Image of In order to bring the wooly mammoth back into the realm of the living, an elephant would have to act as a surrogate, carrying the mammoth for 22 months before giving birth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new attempt to bring the long-extinct wooly mammoth back to life through cloning is raging anew in the scientific community. South Korean scientists believe the Ice Age "Mammuthus" can be brought back to life using the DNA of an extremely well preserved ... continue reading


Fascinating photos beamed back from comet by Philae probe Watch

Image of The agency can't guarantee if Philae will once again be operational, but even if it does not the agency says it is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After landing on Comet 67P last week, high-resolution pictures have now been released taken by the Philae probe. Acquired by the Narrow Angle Camera on the Rosetta satellite, the dainty robot was dropped towards the surface of the "ice mountain" - although the ... continue reading


Prepare to be surprised as you enjoy these rare, colorized historic photos Watch

Image of A photograph of a Japanese samurai taken in 1881.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A thread on the popular social media website Reddit is taking the internet back in time, bringing famous and unusual photographs from history and colorizing them. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These amazing photos show slices of life from the late 19th ... continue reading


UPDATED - So we've landed on a comet, what's the big deal? (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of The Rosetta probe will orbit comet 67/P and continue studying it as it approaches the sun.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today, a European Space Agency (ESA) probe will become the first man-made object to land on a comet. The washing machine-sized Philae lander will touch down on the surface of comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko. As the world follows the landing with bated breath, we cannot ... continue reading


U.S. strikes at 'Dark Net': Seizes $1 million and arrests 17 Watch

Image of During a joint operation between the U.S. and European countries, 400 websites, including Silk Road 2.0, that were trafficking illegal goods were shut down. Also seized were about $1 million in bitcoins.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over 400 hidden internet sites, including the infamous drug selling and trading website Silk Road 2.0, have been shut down in a joint operation between the United States and 16 European nations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These sites are charged with being ... continue reading


DANGER, DANGER Will Robinson: Amazon 'Echo' will soon be in every home, analyst says Watch

Image of Critics say

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Internet marketplace leader Amazon announced the introduction of their new gadget Echo last week. Naysayers were quick to dismiss it along the lines of Apple's Siri, Google Now or Microsoft's Cortana. Columnist Mike Elgan of ComputerWorld disagrees, predicting ... continue reading


Building a better potato: Genetically Modified 'Zombie' Potatoes Watch

Image of Developed by the J. R. Simplot Company, a privately held company based in Boise, Idaho, the company was the first supplier of frozen French fries to McDonald's in the 1960s. Simplot the founder, who died in 2008, became a billionaire.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Acrylamide, which is suspected of being a cancer-causing agent, is produced whenever potatoes are fried. Now, agricultural researchers have perfected a new version of the potato with DNA that has been altered to minimize the agent. The Food and Drug ... continue reading


Big losses for Amazon in the Stock Market Watch

Image of Amazon sales are down, and some worry the company will not meet its goals for the 2014 Holiday shopping season.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American retail giant Amazon has revealed some shocking financial news, that it has lost nearly $500 million in the past three months. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amazon's shares dropped by 11% in after-hours trading, which took more than $15 billion off the ... continue reading


So, the Apple haters were wrong again - take a bite of this! Watch

Image of Apple has seen growth in the sales of its iPhones and Macs from this time in 2013, while sales of tablets have shrunk in the same time frame.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tech giant Apple has sold 39.3 million iPhones over the past quarter, which includes sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus which were released in the United States on September 19. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sales of the iPhone rose past most expectations, ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter