You can see Uranus with the naked eye this week
It might be the butt of every solar system joke going, but Uranus doesn’t deserve this childish association. The ice giant is the third biggest planet in our solar system, and rotates on its side.
If we humans were able to live on the planet, the oldest we would ever get would be one year old; one Uranus year is 84 Earth years. But you don’t often get a chance to look at Uranus, as it is normally quite dim when it in the sky.
Now, the time to take the bright blue planet seriously has come, as it will be highly visible in the skies this week. This is because the planet has reached opposition, meaning we are sitting directly in between Uranus and the sun at the moment.
“It’s visible all night long and its blue-green colour is unmistakeable,” NASA said in a video. “It may be bright enough to see with your naked eye — and for sure in binoculars.”
To spot the planet, look for the unmistakeable V of Pisces, and find what looks like a greeny-blue star.
If Uranus wasn’t enough to draw your eyes to the skies, the Orionid meteor shower has started this week. It will peak tonight, so keep your eyes pealed.
“Look near Orion’s club in the hours before dawn and you may see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour,” NASA says.
Late Saturday night and Sunday morning may be good times to watch for the shower, when meteors should become visible starting at late evening. They will probably be most prolific in the few hours before dawn on 21 October, but if you miss out on this, try watching before dawn on 22 October, too.