Path of Uranus, in South-western Pisces, for the year 2012, marked on the first day of each month (a Southern hemisphere view can be found here). Periods when the planet was too close to the Sun to be visible are indicated by a dashed line. Ideally, searches for Uranus should be carried out on Moonless nights, i.e. in the two-week period centred on the New Moon in any given month.
Much of the star field in the chart should be easily contained within a binocular field of view (which typically ranges from 5° to 9°). Stars are shown down to magnitude +8.5. Right Ascension and Declination co-ordinates are marked around the border, for cross-referencing with a star atlas. Printer-friendly (greyscale) versions of the chart are available for Northern and Southern hemisphere views.
Uranus reached opposition to the Sun on September 29th 2012, when it shone at magnitude +5.7 and measured 3".7 (3.7 arcseconds) in diameter. The planet was then 19.064 Astronomical Units (2,852 million kms or 1,772 million statute miles) from the Earth. During 2012 the planet's apparent loop was centred on the star 44 Piscium, which shone at very nearly the same magnitude as the planet; the two appeared closest together on September 23rd, when Uranus passed just 0'.6 (0.6 arcminutes) to the South of the star.
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Copyright © Martin J Powell March 2011; modified April 2012, March 2013