Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

9/18/2013 (2 years 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 theĀ  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'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Technology

Bet you've never seen a space rocket do THIS! Watch

Image of The New Shepherd rocket, safe on its West Texas launch pad, after the first-ever such landing made by a space rocket.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a technological upset, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos has successfully tested a reusable rocket by flying it into space and landing it back on Earth. The test puts Bezo's Blue Origin ahead of Elon Musk's Space X in the race to develop a reusable rocket. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

What the heck is Dark Matter and what's Triangulum II? Watch

Image of Triangulum II may have a greater concentration of dark matter than any other object yet observed.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have discovered a galaxy that may be composed mostly of dark matter. Dark matter is an elusive substance that is yet to be described by scientists. They know what it does, but not what it is. The discovery could help solve the mystery. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Anonymous VS ISIS: Hacker group launches counter-terrorism attacks from the shadows Watch

Image of Hacker group Anonymous takes on ISIS (YouTube).


While ISIS supporters and member utilize social media to attract recruits and sympathizers to their cause, hacker group Anonymous has stepped forward to fight back. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Following the Paris terror attacks Friday, hacker group Anonymous ... continue reading

3 reasons why having sex with robots is wrong, according to the Catholic Church Watch

Image of Should we have sex with robots? Not according to the teachings of the Church, and Natural Law itself.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

As robotics manufacturers look to the future, they're planning to tap into the multi-billion dollar sex industry. In the not-too distant future, people will be able to keep robot companions that provide them with sexual gratification. What happens when people begin ... continue reading

Ever wonder why the other line always moves faster? This book has the answer Watch

Image of The practice of lining up is taught in school and is a quintessential aspect of modern civilization.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Why does the other line move faster than yours? This is a question explored, and answered in a new book which used science and history to study standing in line. In "Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster: The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in ... continue reading

The unimaginable truth behind Facebook's threat to society that you need to know NOW Watch

Image of Has social media taken over?


Teenage internet sensation Essena O'Neill decided to leave social media behind after realizing it did nothing but make her dependent on anonymous "likes" and "shares." Her dependency on social media is just one of many. What else does social media cause? LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading

Move over Uber - Check out the newest 'Air Taxis' that the richest people will ride Watch

Image of Magnetic levitation technology produces the lift and forces the car to propel forward, which makes the system energy efficient.


Futuristic, "Jetsons" -styled "air taxis," that glide 20 to 30 feet above the air on elevated tracks will be debuting in Israel shortly. The dream project of Skytran, based in Mountain View, California had been perfecting the technology over the past five ... continue reading

Here are five shocking surprises from Comet 67P that are keeping scientists awake at night Watch

Image of Rosetta and the Philae lander. Both are on a three-year mission to gather data about comet 67P, but so far they've served to mystify as much as they have explained.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The recent announcement that Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko (67P) is rich in oxygen molecules has sent scientists scurrying to explain this extraordinary finding. It is the latest in strange discoveries reported by the Rosetta spacecraft in orbit around the enigmatic ... continue reading

If it's not an alien megastructure, could it be... a black hole? Watch

Image of Could it be aliens? No.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Astronomers continue to puzzle over a distant star that for some reason, is having a substantial quantity of its light blocked from reaching Earth. The find is one-of-a-kind and is fueling speculation that intelligent life could be at work. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Are you under surveillance? Watch

Image of The government sanctions the use of tech that is able to connect to your phone and pull anything they want from it.


Stingray is the name of a device called an IMSI-catcher or a "cell-site simulator," and is roughly the size of a briefcase. It works by impersonating cell phone towers and strips metadata or content from phones that connect to them. What does the government have to say ... continue reading

All Technology News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:15-27
15 'I, Daniel, was deeply disturbed and the visions that passed through ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87
82 Bless the Lord, all the human race: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:34-36
34 'Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2015 Image

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