For the first time, astronomers have snapped photos of auroras lighting up Uranus’s icy atmosphere. Two fleeting, Earth-size auroral storms were imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope as they flared up on the dayside of the gas giant in November 2011. Nearly 4 billion km away, the seventh planet from the Sun remains one of the most mysterious but with some luck and persistence a team of astronomers have figured out an innovative way to remotely study this gas giant.
Tags: solar wind, Uranus
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Skywatchers on February 9th will be treated to a especially close conjunction between the planets Venus and Uranus. The second planet from the Sun will act as wonderful guidepost to finding the third largest planet in the solar system as two worlds sit side by side in the early evening sky,
Usually Uranus is difficult to track down for newbie stargazers because it is so faint in the sky – especially where there is light pollution – making it really only visible through binoculars and telescopes from cities. So with the brightest star-like object, Venus, being right next to the green giant planet – it should be quite easy to spot with nothing more than your binoculars. The two very different worlds will make a nice contrasts not only in brightness, but also in color (Uranus is blue-green and Venus is white). And for those with a small telescope under hi power – the size difference between the two planetary disks will be quite impressive – not surprising since there is nearly a 20 times difference in their distance from us.
For all the observing details and a skychart read my National Geographic blog story.
Tags: Uranus, Venus
Posted in Planets, Solar System | 2 Comments »
This week’s stargazing news includes observing Jupiter at its best, finding elusive Uranus and watching Northern Lights on the web with project Auroramax.
Tags: AuroraMax, Jupiter, Uranus
Posted in Auroras, Planets | 90 Comments »