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Cosmic Challenge: Spotting Uranus

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#1 PhilH

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:04 AM

On March 12, 1781, the solar system was a simple, very well-behaved place that was best summed up with the phrase "what you see is what you get." There were the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Apart from a handful of moons orbiting some of the planets and the occasional faint comet that required a telescope to be seen, the entire contents of the solar system was naked-eye territory.

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#2 AlwaysHungry

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 06:50 AM

"I've spent some time looking at Uranus" I said to my significant other ... "it's beautiful!"


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#3 Knasal

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 07:07 AM

Hi Phil, thank you for your contribution as this is a fun project!

 

I spotted it with a group of star gazers at the Northwoods Star Fest in 2005. We estimated it at magnitude 5.7 then, and I could hold it visually most of the time under the conditions we had that night. Once you had it, you could show a friend and news of our observation quickly spread on the observing field. 

 

It’s an observation that I’ve since been unable to repeat for a variety of reasons but you’ve motivated me to try again. You realize how special nights / observations like that were and are!

 

Kevin


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#4 Jerry Hubbell

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 11:59 AM

Two of our astronomers at the Mark Slade Remote Observatory ( https://msroscience.org ) recently observed, recorded and reported an occultation of Umbriel

 

Here is a report of the event from Dr. Myron Wasiuta and a link to a video of the event:

 

https://www.facebook...709089279816303

 

On the morning of September 21, 2020, the faint moon of Uranus Umbriel occulted a 13.5 magnitude star over parts of the eastern US. Drs Bart Billard and Myron Wasiuta recorded an approximately 50-second event at 4:23 AM using the Station 3 telescope ( Explore Scientific 102mm F/7 APO). Thanks to David Dunham for giving us a heads up on observing this very rare event. I created this animation by cropping and scaling 90 4-second exposures-thereby compressing 6 minutes of data into about 15 seconds. The animation shows the occulted star close to the disk of Uranus, and the moon Umbriel which is much fainter than the star can be seen just prior to the star reappearing. The other two moons in the frame are Oberon (farthest from Uranus) and Titania. The slight wobbling of the images are due to the small periodic error of our CGE PMC-Eight mount which was not autoguided during this sequence.


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#5 hboswell

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 06:52 AM

I wish I had read this last week. I was at St. George's Island State Park in Florida, with some really incredible skies - M32, the Lagoon, and Omega were all naked eye to my super new post-cataract-surgery eyes (each eye measures 20/15!). I bet I could have found it.


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#6 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 05:47 PM

Uranus was a fairly easy naked-eye target before and during the 2002 Black Forest Star Party at Cherry Springs State Park.


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