Look up tonight (January 21) to see Uranus and Mars lying together in the night sky – just do not forget your binoculars.
Yesterday (January 20) on the inauguration day in the United States, the two planets were connected, which means that they seemed very close together in the sky. Tonight, the planets share the same “right ascension”, with Mars passing only 1.75 degrees north of Uranus, according to Earthsky.org. (Your fist, held at an arm’s length, covers about 10 degrees of sky.) The moon will also shine nearby, making it a good landmark to start from when looking for the planets.
Uranus, the seventh planet in our solar system orbiting 2.9 billion kilometers from the sun, will be in the order of 5.8 in the sky. Meanwhile, Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun orbiting at an average distance of “only” 233.1 million miles (231.1 million km) will be visible in the order of 0.2.
The brightest planets in the January sky: How to see them (and when)
The lower the magnitude of a cosmic object, the brighter it is (there are even seriously bright objects of negative sizes), so Mars will be significantly brighter in the sky than Uranus. But while Uranus will be difficult to spot, both will still be visible using binoculars, even though the planets will be too far apart to fit within a telescope’s field of view, according to in-the-sky.org.
To try to find Uranus, you must first “find the crescent and the red planet within a few hours after dark. Scan your way from Mars to the moon and you should be able to find the faint, bluish disk from Uranus. , ” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in its monthly “What’s Up” skywatching series.
While Uranus and Mars are now showing this show in the night sky, they are not the only planets hanging out tonight. Both Jupiter and Saturn are still officially in the evening sky, even though the light from the setting sun makes them invisible, according to Earthsky.org.
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