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Uranus for the first time

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#1 maugi88

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 05:55 PM

Last night I finally got out and to my delight I saw Uranus for the first time in my life. It was just a small blue dot but I must have kept the scope on it for 30 minutes. Quite cool.

#2 StrangeDejavu

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 06:50 PM

Uranus is a treat, especially when seeing allows high magnification. It amazes me that a planet almost at the edge of our solar system can be seen in even the most modest telescopes. :)

#3 SpooPoker

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:06 PM

I have spotted Uranus and Neptune in binoculars, but have not yet taken my telescope to them. My scopes are small aperture and not up to the task of bringing these two gas/ice giants to anything resembling a disc. To see their non stellar nature, one would presume 200x magnfication would be a bare minimum. In my scopes, on a faint target, applying such high magnification, they would disappear to obscurity in the eyepiece. I am waiting until I jump to 10" before tackling these remote forbidding worlds.

#4 Feidb

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:11 PM

I saw that pale green disk last night also. Then we switched to Neptune, a gray-blue disk, much tinier but still recognizable. We had to use my bud's GOTO 12-inch SCT because the sky was too bright to find it in that obscure part of the sky with the moon out, at least with my manual Dob.

I had both of them on my list for our Cathedral Gorge trip last month but never got to them the first night and got rained out on the rest of the nights. Glad I got to visit them at least once this year as they're an annual thing for me. Two years ago, I spotted Uranus' moon Oberon from Death Valley. It was just one of those nights and I knew exactly where to look thanks to a buddy who had an ephemeris. Took 390X and patience, but it was worth it.

#5 Westseen

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:28 PM

I believe I spotted Uranus in binoculars last month but I could detect no green or blue coloration with my 10x50s.

Is the color distinct with small low power binoculars?

#6 Scott in NC

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:33 PM

To see their non stellar nature, one would presume 200x magnfication would be a bare minimum. In my scopes, on a faint target, applying such high magnification, they would disappear to obscurity in the eyepiece.


I haven't tried to view either of these planets with one of my smaller refractors lately. But a few nights ago, Uranus was a lovely shade of pale blue, and clearly disc-shaped at 91x with my 8" SCT, using a 22mm Vixen LVW eyepiece. So give it a try with one of your scopes--you just may be surprised!

#7 Feidb

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:53 PM

Several of you have described blue, yet with a 12-inch or larger, I always seen a distinct greenish tint. In fact, it reminds me of a filled in planetary nebula without a central star. A lot of them appear blue to green.

Back in the day, 40 years ago, the first time I saw it in my 8-inch f/9.44, I also saw it as green, but that was with much younger eyes and much darker skies. I'm curious about the color through smaller aperture. I'll have to try that sometime.

#8 SpooPoker

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:59 PM

I haven't tried to view either of these planets with one of my smaller refractors lately. But a few nights ago, Uranus was a lovely shade of pale blue, and clearly disc-shaped at 91x with my 8" SCT, using a 22mm Vixen LVW eyepiece. So give it a try with one of your scopes--you just may be surprised!


I think I will try them out in that case :)

Uranus was pretty easy to spot in binoculars, even with the Moon washing everything out. As for Neptune, think I will wait until the Moon rises until at least 3 hours past sunset. It will probably take me around half an hour to zero in with my scope.

#9 Scott in NC

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:01 PM

Several of you have described blue, yet with a 12-inch or larger, I always seen a distinct greenish tint.


Well, it's true that different people may perceive colors in different ways. I'm wondering how much effect having a larger aperture may play into accuracy of color perception on Uranus. The largest scope that I recall ever viewing it with is 8", and at that aperture Uranus appears to me to be a very pale "robin's egg" blue, without any noticeable green tint. I'll have to try to look for it in my 12" scope one day soon, because you've now gotten me curious about this.

#10 lamplight

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:07 PM

It's pretty mind blowing.. I just saw Uranus and Neptune for first times in the last couple months. Agreed that I'm thrilled I can see these things with a back yard scope !

#11 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:49 PM

I, too, love spotting the ice giants. Just enough of a disk to make out comfortably in my 4" refractor. They always bring a smile to my face.

#12 kevinrr

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:52 PM

I have viewed it several times this year in my Z12. I noted it as ever so slightly larger than the surrounding stars, basically white with a hint of blue tint. I would describe the color as being similar to earth's sky on an average day.

To be honest I perceived neptune as very similar, slightly smaller, but similar in color as well.

#13 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:27 AM

I took a look at Uranus this evening and I was very suprised to have the pale blue disc sitting there in the sky. The seeing late this evening was superb so the disc was very obvious. I probably could have pushed the magnification much more but I was so pleased to have my Go To find it on the first shot... Felt kind of like cheating but I don't care! I sat there staring at this wonderful pale blue ( don't remember green) disc for about an hour. I also am suprised at how large you can get the disc to appear... Definitely would never be mistaken for a star.... And I believe I saw one of its moons...??! Who knew?

#14 BeefStewpid

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 01:45 AM

In my 4.5" reflector, Uranus looks like a star. It basically looks like a white star but with a little patience it looks like it has a little blue in it to me.

I saw it in a 10" reflector about a month ago, and it looked like a green disk. Still rather small and featureless but a disk nonetheless and distinctly green, not blue or white (in my scope it simply can't be magnified into a disk.) In the 10" Neptune still looked like a blue star to me, it didn't magnify into a disk with the same magnification that showed Uranus as a disk, though I don't know if the telescope owner could have magnified further and made it a disk.

#15 Tony Flanders

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 05:42 AM

I have spotted Uranus and Neptune in binoculars, but have not yet taken my telescope to them. My scopes are small aperture and not up to the task of bringing these two gas/ice giants to anything resembling a disc.


I don't agree. A good 60-mm telescope should show Uranus's disk quite well at 120X or thereabouts, and it should also show Neptune as clearly nonstellar. They're small, but not all that small.

They are also not faint at all in a 60-mm aperture. On the contrary, Uranus appears quite bright, and Neptune is easily 3 magnitudes above its limiting magnitude.

#16 Jon_Doh

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 07:29 AM

I see both Uranus and Neptune just fine with my 8" SCT from light polluted skies. I've taken both up to 300x in magnification, but they typically do better at about half that due to seeing. I haven't spotted their moons yet.

#17 maugi88

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:24 AM

I was using a 12" acf and could not go higher than 14mm eyepiece or the disk would fuzz out. The colors I saw were robins egg blue with a hint of tan or light brown. If I had to say how big the apparent disk was I think about 3/64 of an inch or about as thick as the wire in a large paper clip.

I wanted to look at Neptune too but it was behind the neighbors tree. I guess I will have to make that first, next new moon.

#18 SpooPoker

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:16 AM

I don't agree. A good 60-mm telescope should show Uranus's disk quite well at 120X or thereabouts, and it should also show Neptune as clearly nonstellar. They're small, but not all that small.

They are also not faint at all in a 60-mm aperture. On the contrary, Uranus appears quite bright, and Neptune is easily 3 magnitudes above its limiting magnitude.


Thanks for the tip Tony!

I was using simple extrapolation<->reasoning based on Mars and Titan. Mars is right now a tiddler, only slightly larger in apparent size than Uranus. Titan is slightly less bright than Neptune. In both cases, at around 200x magnification, Mars was a miniscule disc while Titan was obviously there but definitely on the faint side. I figured if I rinsed and repeated with the two ice giants, I would have barely detected Neptune at 200x and Uranus would have been a small pinprick.

I take your word for it though :cool:, after all, extrapolation is no substitute for actual viewing experience.

I will give these two ice giants a go when the Moon rises well after twilight so I can locate them using some visible stars in Pegasus/Pisces and Aquarius. Right now the Moon is making it tough to spot the fainter stars and thus enabling easier locating.

#19 Qwickdraw

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:21 AM

Congrats, excellent find !

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#20 BeefStewpid

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 12:29 PM

A good 60-mm telescope should show Uranus's disk quite well at 120X or thereabouts, and it should also show Neptune as clearly nonstellar.


Wow, that surprises me. I can't wait to give this another try (probably have to wait until the moon is less prohibitive again.)

#21 BeefStewpid

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:34 AM

So I was able to see it as a disk tonight. One thing that helped me tremendously was that there was a star near it which stayed in the same field of view even under high magnification, so I could compare it to an actual star that wasn't much dimmer. I think if that star weren't there, that I wouldn't have been confident that it was a disk and not just a smudged out star. I'm guessing without the moon it would be easier.

#22 Achernar

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:05 AM

Through my 6, 10, and 15-inch Uranus looks like a tiny turquoise-green disk, especially at 200X and above. However, through the 15-inch I caught a glimpse recently of either Titania or Oberon, the largest moons of Uranus. I once made out three of them from the Okie-Tex Starparty through a 25-inch Dob. Some folks have seen faint features on the planet itself when the seeing is very steady with telescopes as small as 9-inches in aperture.

Taras






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