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Saturday, January 16, 2021

 

Mars close to Uranus (15-27 January, 2021)

Evening sky at 22:14 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Saturday, January 16 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon. Uranus is within a binocular field of Mars.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
Evening sky at 22:11 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Tuesday, January 19 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object aside from the Moon above the north-western horizon. Uranus is just above Mars,
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
<- td="">Evening sky at 22:10 ACDST  (90 minutes after sunset) on Thursday, January 21 facing north as seen from Adelaide. Mars is the brightest object above the north-western horizon and is just below the apogee First Quarter moon. Uranus is between the pair, in binoculars, Uranus is the brightest object aide from Mars and the Moon in the binocular field.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset), click to embiggen.
Approximate binocular view of Mars and Uranus as seen with 10x50 binoculars on on Saturday, January 16, click to embiggen.Approximate binocular view of Mars and Uranus as seen with 10x50 binoculars on on Tuesday, January 19, click to embiggen.Approximate binocular view of apogee First Quarter Moon, Mars and Uranus as seen with 10x50 binoculars on on Thursday, January 21, click to embiggen.

From now until roughly January 27 will be a good time to view Uranus.  Although Uranus is bright enough to be (just) visible to the naked eye at magnitude 5.7, finding it can be quite difficult. Over the next few days we have a very bright signpost, Mars, to guide us. Between now and Wednesday 27 January Mars will be within binocular distance of Uranus. On the 21st, Uranus will be between Mars and the Moon, and within a wide field telescope objective field of view from Mars. With a telescope you should see Uranus as a tiny disk.

 During this time Uranus is the brightest object aside from the star 19 Arietis (which is approximately as bright as Uranus) in the constellation of Aires, the Ram) and of course the Moon, within binocular  range of Mars, but Uranus is easily distinguished as it is above Mars.

Binocular Spotter map suitable for printing (click it to embiggen and print) shows the nights Mars is within binocular range of Uranus (the large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars the small the field of view of a 30mm telescope lens). Use the chart with a red light (or a torch with red cellophane over the end) so as not to interrupt your night vision.

The 21st is also the night of the apogee First Quarter moon, so you might like to try your hand at imaging Mars and Uranus.

 

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