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Ice giant planet Uranus comes to opposition on October 7th. The distant outer planet shines at magnitude +5.7 amongst the stars of Pisces and therefore bright enough - but only just - to be spotted with the naked eye from a dark site. However, this year it will be impossible to spot Uranus with the naked eye at opposition since the nearby full Moon interferes.

Uranus as seen by Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986 (NASA)

A good time to try and spot the planet without optical aid is about a week after opposition when the Moon has moved out of the way. If you can achieve this feat you will join an exclusive group of people. If not, don't worry Uranus is a very easy binocular target. The planet is currently positioned about 25 degrees southeast of the centre of the "Great Square of Pegasus". Stars ε Psc (mag. +4.3) and δ Psc (mag. +4.4) positioned 2 degrees northeast and 2 degrees northwest of Uranus respectively.

Uranus during October 2014

Uranus during October 2014 - pdf format

At opposition, Uranus is located approx. 19.014 AU (approx. 2844.5 million km or 1767.5 million miles) from Earth. It has an apparent diameter of 3.7 arc seconds. Small telescopes at high magnification will show a small blue-green disk, but even when viewed through large amateur telescopes it's difficult to spot surface details on the planet.

Also worth mentioning although unlikely anyone will be able to observe it; on October 8th an extremely rare event occurs when the full Moon in total eclipse occults Uranus. It's visible during daylight from remote Greenland!