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Ice giant planet Uranus the seventh planet from the Sun comes to opposition on October 12, 2015. The distant outer planet shines amongst the stars of Pisces at magnitude +5.7 and therefore marginally bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye. However, it's safe to say that not many people have achieved this - a dark site with good seeing conditions is essential - but if you're not so lucky and can't spot Uranus with the naked eye, it's very easy with binoculars and small scopes.

Uranus as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope (credit - NASA/Lamy)

Location

The planet is positioned 15 degrees south and 20 degrees east of the centre of the "Great Square of Pegasus". It's currently moving slowly retrograde against the "fixed" background stars. Located just over 2 degrees northwest of Uranus is epsilon Psc (ε Psc - mag. +4.3). Further to the east / northeast are the constellations of Aries and its brightest star Hamal (mag. +2.0) and Taurus with first magnitude orange star Aldebaran and naked eye open clusters M45 "The Pleiades" and the sprawling Hyades.

Uranus is visible practically all night during October, rising above the eastern horizon around sunset and then setting in the west as the Sun reappears.

Position of Uranus during early evening October from mid-temperate Northern latitudes (credit:- Stellarium)

Position of Uranus during early evening October from mid-temperate Southern latitudes (credit:- Stellarium)

At opposition, Uranus is located approx. 18.984 AU (approx. 2840 million km or 1765 million miles) from Earth. It has an apparent diameter of 3.7 arc seconds and small telescopes at medium to high magnification will reveal a small blue-green disk, but even when viewed through large amateur telescopes it's difficult to spot any planet details.

The finder charts below shows the position of Uranus at opposition (R.A.= 01h 08m 29.6s, Dec.= +06d 32m 55s). Since it moves relatively little with respect to the background stars the chart is also valid before and after opposition.

Uranus opposition finder chart on October 12, 2015 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Uranus opposition finder chart on October 12, 2015 (credit:- freestarcharts) - pdf format