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Could I have spotted Uranus?

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#1 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 04:52 AM

I was up at 5:30am Eastern Time here (in Pennsylvania) looking at Jupiter, Mars and Venus, just before sunrise.

 

I am using a 10" Dob.  I used 31 Nagler, 13 Ethos, and 9 Stellarview eyepieces looking at Mars.

 

I spotted one other "star" and no other stars in the same field of view of all of these eyepieces next to Mars.  I would say this "star" was toward the lower right of Mars at about 4/5 "o'clock" in relation to Mars in the eyepiece.  (I am talking about the location on a clock face).

 

Could this have been Uranus?  Or would it have been too bright (in the dawn) for Uranus to show up as the only other star visible in the eyepiece next to Mars.

If it wasn't Uranus, can anyone tell me what star it might have been?

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

 



#2 Bean614

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 05:25 AM

Neither Uranus, nor ANY Planet, is like a 'star'.  Stars are Point Sources' that generate their OWN light.  All Planets, including Bright Venus and Jupiter, do NOT generate their own light, and just 'reflect' the Sun's light.

  If you thought a 'star' you saw was Neptune, it wasn't.  Neptune and Uranus are both easily seen in a 10" Dob.  BUT... they are just 'pale discs', and do not generate their own light.  Uranus, to me, is an aquamarine (blue-green) color, while Neptune is a particularly gorgeous light blue-ish color, and you'd probably know it if you saw it.

   You might also wish to get a few astronomy books, which will help you learn about the various objects in the sky, what they're made of, how to identify them and differentiate them from other objects, and at what times they can be seen.


Edited by Bean614, 04 August 2022 - 06:06 AM.

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#3 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 06:10 AM

Neither Uranus, nor ANY Planet, is like a 'star'.  Stars are Point Sources' that generate their OWN light.  All Planets, including Bright Venus and Jupiter, do NOT generate their own light, and just 'reflect' the Sun's light.

  If you thought a 'star' you saw was Neptune, it wasn't.  Neptune and Uranus are both easily seen in a 10" Dob.  BUT... they are just 'pale discs', and do not generate their own light.  Neptune is a particularly gorgeous light blue-ish color, and you'd probably know it if you saw it.

   You might also wish to get a few astronomy books, which will help you learn about the various objects in the sky, what they're made of, how to identify them and differentiate them from other objects, and at what times they can be seen.

Thank you for the reply.  I am EXTREMELY new to my telescope and Astronomy.  I was only inquiring in this post about Uranus since I believe it may have been next to Mars and in the field of view of my eyepiece.  I made no mention of Neptune here.  I do have several astronomy books, but I decided to post on here for some more specific and timely confirmation of what I saw and when I saw it.

 

I am very new to this hobby that I am currently not skilled enough to determine if it was a star or a planet.  I DO understand that planets reflect light and stars generate light, However, since what I saw and think may have been Uranus was so small, and since I am extremely new to this hobby, I am uncertain and questioning myself if it was a planet or a star.  I believe most people new to this hobby who are not experienced observers are going to believe any point of light in the sky is a "star".  This is why I put "star" in quotations.  Again, I am not experienced enough to visually be certain that I can tell the difference YET, particularly on Uranus which is so small and not as obviously not-a-star as a larger stars.

 

I am hoping to get some affirming feedback from others who have looked at Uranus in the last few days.  In summary again, could there have been any other 
"point of light" in the sky (whether it be a planet or star) vey close to Mars at 5:30 in the morning in the field of view with Mars in my eyepiece.  I saw only one point of light (whether it be a faint star or planet) and I would like to know the likelihood if that may have been Uranus. (or a star).  ;)



#4 Barlowbill

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 06:17 AM

Uranus is quite close to Mars right now.  To the upper right.  Dang clouds!  You need to get Stellarium.  It is free.  Go to Stellarium.org.  You put in your location and it will show where everything is from your location....forever.  Uranus is not hard to see, it is hard to find.  I got up early because it is close to Mars and therefore easier to find.  Maybe no clouds tomorrow.  Good luck


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#5 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 06:34 AM

Uranus is quite close to Mars right now.  To the upper right.  Dang clouds!  You need to get Stellarium.  It is free.  Go to Stellarium.org.  You put in your location and it will show where everything is from your location....forever.  Uranus is not hard to see, it is hard to find.  I got up early because it is close to Mars and therefore easier to find.  Maybe no clouds tomorrow.  Good luck

Thanks, I did look actually at Stellarium after I observed this "star"/Uranus?.  I guess I am coming on here and posting about it for some extra confirmation on what I saw given the time of day (5:30am), the fact that it was fairly light out already (dawn). Is that too light out to see Uranus?   And it was the only other point of light in my eyepiece next to Mars....  It was actually on the lower right direction of Mars at like 4/5 o'clock directionally based on a clock face.  On Stellarium , it showed "Uranus" at about 1 o'clock on a clock face. 

Considering I am using a Dob... I think this would match correctly.... but again, I am just posting here for some validation I guess, lol. 



#6 Napp

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:01 AM

Michael, unfortunately, I don't think you spotted Uranus.  It is close to Mars but not close enough to be in the same field of view of all those eyepieces.  I set up Sky Safari to display the field of view of my 30mm ES82 eyepiece in my 10 inch Zhumell DOB.  I then centered the field of view on Mars and adjusted the magnitude of stars shown to only show the brightest star in the field of view around Mars.  Uranus, as you can see is outside the field of view of a rather wide field of view eyepiece.  To my eye Uranus shows as a very small, pale green dot at even lower magnifications in my 10 inch DOB.  It shows as clearly different from a star.  If you have clear skies tomorrow morning try again looking a bit farther out from Mars.  I think you will have no trouble identifying Uranus when it pops into your field of view.  Good Luck!

 

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  • Mars FOV 08042022.PNG

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#7 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:15 AM

Thanks,

I am a bit perplexed then.  But I will try again for sure.  Do you think 5:30 in the morning (dawn) is too light out to see Uranus?

 

Not that you have time to do this, but, assuming a 30mm 82 degree eyepiece and then a 13mm 100degree ethos and then a 9mm 100degree eyepiece.... What could have been the only other "star" that would have shown up at 530am in that field of view?  There was literally only one other "star" in the field of view.

I am actually curious to identify it so I can figure out what the magnitude is.  I'd like to compare the magnitude to what I can expect when I find Uranus.

 

Not sure if you are able to answer that easily, if not, no worries. :)



#8 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:22 AM

Michael, unfortunately, I don't think you spotted Uranus.  It is close to Mars but not close enough to be in the same field of view of all those eyepieces.  I set up Sky Safari to display the field of view of my 30mm ES82 eyepiece in my 10 inch Zhumell DOB.  I then centered the field of view on Mars and adjusted the magnitude of stars shown to only show the brightest star in the field of view around Mars.  Uranus, as you can see is outside the field of view of a rather wide field of view eyepiece.  To my eye Uranus shows as a very small, pale green dot at even lower magnifications in my 10 inch DOB.  It shows as clearly different from a star.  If you have clear skies tomorrow morning try again looking a bit farther out from Mars.  I think you will have no trouble identifying Uranus when it pops into your field of view.  Good Luck!

The location of the "star" that I saw through the eyepiece was probably where the number 8 is located on the image you shared....  Again I am using a Dob.... so on Stellarium it would not be where the 8 is, if I understand orientation correctly... maybe I don't.



#9 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:25 AM

Finally, as I search again... what is a good eyepiece to use...

Can I make out some blue green color in a 31mm?  Or would the 13 Ethos or 9mm at 100 FOV be better?

 

I'd prefer the 31 obviously, but not sure if that is reasonable or not.



#10 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:36 AM

Could it have been one of the moons of Mars?  at 12/13 magnitude... is that possible to see in a 10 inch Dob in the dawn hours?

 

I know I am throwing everything at the wall here to see what sticks, lol.



#11 Napp

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:40 AM

Michael, I blew up the field of view and selected equatorial coordinates.  I suspect HD 19896 is the star you saw.  It's mag 7.3.  Flipping the image to match a Newtonian view puts the star in the location you described.  Uranus' pale green color shows well in binoculars so any of those eyepieces will show it.  5:30am is not too late to see it here in Florida.  Use your widest field to locate and center it.  Then swap in higher magnifications.  Like I posted above Uranus will be easy to recognize.  I highly recommend Sky Safari if you have a tablet.  The Plus version is adequate for almost everyone.  Stellarium is free and works well on a pc or laptop.

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  • Mars FOV A 08042022.PNG

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#12 Napp

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:46 AM

Could it have been one of the moons of Mars?  at 12/13 magnitude... is that possible to see in a 10 inch Dob in the dawn hours?

 

I know I am throwing everything at the wall here to see what sticks, lol.

Sorry, but no.  Not a chance with Mars so far away now.  The moons of Mars are a challenge observation around Mars opposition.  I was able to see Deimos in my 10 inch DOB at the last opposition using an occulting eyepiece to block Mars.  Took 3+ hours of eyepiece time spread over three nights before I got a 30 second view.  This opposition I am going for Deimos and Phobos in my 16 inch DOB with the occulting eyepiece.  Study Mars and build your observing skills before opposition late this year.  The Astronomical League Mars Observing Program is a great way to do this. Look up making an occulting eyepiece and make one.  Then at opposition try for Martian moons.  It will be tougher this time as Mars will be farther away than the last opposition.


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#13 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:52 AM

Michael, I blew up the field of view and selected equatorial coordinates.  I suspect HD 19896 is the star you saw.  It's mag 7.3.  Flipping the image to match a Newtonian view puts the star in the location you described.  Uranus' pale green color shows well in binoculars so any of those eyepieces will show it.  5:30am is not too late to see it here i Florida.  Use your widest field to locate and center it.  Then swap in higher magnifications.  Like I posted above Uranus will be easy to recognize.  I highly recommend Sky Safari if you have a tablet.  The Plus version is adequate for almost everyone.  Stellarium is free and works well on a pc or laptop.

Thanks, This is very helpful, and giving me a good idea how to use and interpret this.  Last question, if you have time for it, lol.

Why HD 19896 and not HD 19833 ?-  which seems a little close to Mars.  Is it possible I could have seen HD 19896 that is further away but not HD 19833 that is closer.  Both basically 7 magnitude.  



#14 Napp

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 08:03 AM

Thanks, This is very helpful, and giving me a good idea how to use and interpret this.  Last question, if you have time for it, lol.

Why HD 19896 and not HD 19833 ?-  which seems a little close to Mars.  Is it possible I could have seen HD 19896 that is further away but not HD 19833 that is closer.  Both basically 7 magnitude.  

You'll have to judge that for yourself based on how far from Mars the star appeared.  HD 19833 appears close to Mars and might be more difficult to see at low magnification due to the bright glare of Mars.


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#15 12BH7

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 09:12 AM

Don't worry, you WILL know when you see them. Once you get either into your EP you'll go, "ah, now I see it".

 

I think back when I started, it took me two or three seasons before I found Neptune, or was it Uranus??? Oh darn!



#16 Cpk133

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 01:56 PM

To answer your question "is it too late". The answer is no, Uranus is visible even after sunrise in clear blue sky.  You better be tracking it from darkness or have go to mount in order to find it in daylight though.  I just observed daytime Uranus this past Sunday morn and it was really cool to see that pale green orb suspended against blue sky.  Mars is easy easy in daylight and stunning against a blue sky.  At powers as low as 90x, Uranus will reveal itself as a little orb easily differentiated from a star.  Just pan around with that nagler and you'll find it.  You should be able to find Uranus in a spotting scope at night, Ive seen it with 10x50 binoculars, you could try that to get a feel for its location.


Edited by Cpk133, 04 August 2022 - 01:59 PM.

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#17 Sketcher

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 06:55 PM

With the question(s) pretty much answered, this might be a good time for a learning experience:

 

First of all, providing angular relations (when looking through a telescope) in terms of a clock-face can be very unreliable.  This is because those "clock angles" will be different depending on the telescope type, the position and orientation of the eyepiece, and the relative position and orientation of the observer.  Change any of those things, and the "clock angle" also is going to change.

 

So it's best to provide directions in terms of "celestial west", "celestial north", etc.  "Celestial West" is very easy to determine.  Due to earth's rotation, everything in your eyepiece view will appear to gradually drift in one direction.  That drift direction is "celestial west".  So, the opposite direction will be "celestial east".  And a line perpendicular to that west-east line will give you north and south.  But which end is north and which is south?  For that, gently nudge the front of the scope (ever so slightly) toward Polaris,  During that nudge, new stars will enter your field of view from one direction.  That direction will be "celestial north".

 

The next step is to learn (calculate, measure, determine) the true fields of view of your various eyepieces when used with your telescope.  There are direct (reliable and accurate) ways of making the measurements; but I've already posted too much for today, so I'll give the shorter, (less wordy) and less accurate method:  Just divide the eyepiece's apparent field of view (as provided by any website that sells them) by the magnification (magnification equals telescope focal-length divided by eyepiece focal-length) that it provides with your telescope.  That will give the true field of view in degrees -- approximately.

 

Then, the next time you have a similar question you'll be able tell us, for example, what direction a mystery object is from Mars as well as how far it is from Mars.  For example, Uranus should have been about 1 degree North of Mars and two degrees West of Mars early this morning -- or about two degrees west--northwest of Mars.  And those directions any reasonably experienced observer would be able to understand and relate to.  And for planets (that move) it's also necessary to provide the date and time (something that you did do! smile.gif

 

These are things that we all have either learned, or should learn shortly after starting out in this hobby.  It helps a great deal to be able to tell others in more precise terms where an unidentified object is located or where they need to look in order to find the same object that you have seen.

 

Those grid lines that show up when you click on "equatorial grid" on Stellarium are lines of RA (Right Ascension) and Dec. (Declination).  Lines of RA run west and east.  Lines of Declination run north and south.   As you experiment with Stellarium, you'll see that those celestial directions will vary depending on where in the sky you're looking.  The same is true when using a telescope.  But the methods explained above will still always work -- regardless of where your telescope is pointed (with due modification for those in earth's southern hemisphere).

 

If you had known all of the above, and determined your true fields of view, etc. prior to this morning's observation, you would have been able to tell us far more precisely what direction the "star" was from Mars and how far (its angular distance) from Mars it was.  You would have even been able to use Stellarium to discover for yourself the unknown "star's" identity smile.gif


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#18 MichaelJB

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:52 PM

With the question(s) pretty much answered, this might be a good time for a learning experience:

 

First of all, providing angular relations (when looking through a telescope) in terms of a clock-face can be very unreliable.  This is because those "clock angles" will be different depending on the telescope type, the position and orientation of the eyepiece, and the relative position and orientation of the observer.  Change any of those things, and the "clock angle" also is going to change.

 

So it's best to provide directions in terms of "celestial west", "celestial north", etc.  "Celestial West" is very easy to determine.  Due to earth's rotation, everything in your eyepiece view will appear to gradually drift in one direction.  That drift direction is "celestial west".  So, the opposite direction will be "celestial east".  And a line perpendicular to that west-east line will give you north and south.  But which end is north and which is south?  For that, gently nudge the front of the scope (ever so slightly) toward Polaris,  During that nudge, new stars will enter your field of view from one direction.  That direction will be "celestial north".

 

The next step is to learn (calculate, measure, determine) the true fields of view of your various eyepieces when used with your telescope.  There are direct (reliable and accurate) ways of making the measurements; but I've already posted too much for today, so I'll give the shorter, (less wordy) and less accurate method:  Just divide the eyepiece's apparent field of view (as provided by any website that sells them) by the magnification (magnification equals telescope focal-length divided by eyepiece focal-length) that it provides with your telescope.  That will give the true field of view in degrees -- approximately.

 

Then, the next time you have a similar question you'll be able tell us, for example, what direction a mystery object is from Mars as well as how far it is from Mars.  For example, Uranus should have been about 1 degree North of Mars and two degrees West of Mars early this morning -- or about two degrees west--northwest of Mars.  And those directions any reasonably experienced observer would be able to understand and relate to.  And for planets (that move) it's also necessary to provide the date and time (something that you did do! smile.gif

 

These are things that we all have either learned, or should learn shortly after starting out in this hobby.  It helps a great deal to be able to tell others in more precise terms where an unidentified object is located or where they need to look in order to find the same object that you have seen.

 

Those grid lines that show up when you click on "equatorial grid" on Stellarium are lines of RA (Right Ascension) and Dec. (Declination).  Lines of RA run west and east.  Lines of Declination run north and south.   As you experiment with Stellarium, you'll see that those celestial directions will vary depending on where in the sky you're looking.  The same is true when using a telescope.  But the methods explained above will still always work -- regardless of where your telescope is pointed (with due modification for those in earth's southern hemisphere).

 

If you had known all of the above, and determined your true fields of view, etc. prior to this morning's observation, you would have been able to tell us far more precisely what direction the "star" was from Mars and how far (its angular distance) from Mars it was.  You would have even been able to use Stellarium to discover for yourself the unknown "star's" identity smile.gif

Thanks, I knew that my explanation (particularly the o'clocks on a clock face) were very rudimentary, but I did not know how to speak the language yet.  But, I do see what you are talking about.... Do you happen to know any good resources for learning this topic (book / video).  I will start googling myself, but figured I'd throw this question out to others reading this thread...

Thanks again! very helpful info!



#19 Cpk133

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 09:37 PM

The book "Turn Left at Orion" by brother Guy and Dr Dan is pretty popular and informative for beginners.  I observed with the authors for a few hours not even knowing who they were as it was a pretty dark location and I wasnt able to see their faces.  They were the keynote speakers at that years Starfest star party.  Also, hang out in the beginners forum here on cloudy nights and read read read.  Theres a wealth of info if you just read and use the search function to find interesting topics.  Google any unfamiliar terms.  One thing leads to another, next thing you know, 10 years goes by.  Join a local astronomy club if you have one.


Edited by Cpk133, 04 August 2022 - 09:39 PM.


#20 Dakota Tobias

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 10:28 PM

The first time I ever found Uranus, I immediately thought it looks kinda like a pinball!



#21 Rutilus

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 04:57 AM

Observing from Bortle 7 skies this morning, Uranus was easily spotted

with my 8x40 binoculars at around 3 degrees from Mars.

 

Also observed Neptune with same binoculars. The planet was around 1.5 degrees

from the star 20 Piscium.

Took the following images with my DSLR and 4 inch f/3.5 achromat refractor.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Mars-uranus-06-08-2022.jpg
  • Neptune-06-08-2022-A.jpg

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#22 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 05:24 AM

Saw this AM . Perfect little pale blue ball at 500x. Not much bigger than Jupiters moons.



#23 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:17 PM

I happened to observe the gas and ice giant planets and Mars on Thursday morning before calling it quits for the night using the Naylor Observatory's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 216x.  The seeing wasn't very good so it was only casual observing on my part.  However, Neptune was quite small but clearly non-stellar at that magnification and Uranus appeared definitely as a disk. 

 

I also viewed these five planets using Canon IS 15x50s.


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#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 03:30 PM

Here's a screencap from Stellarium showing Mars and Uranus on Sunday morning at 3:30 a.m. EDT.  Uranus lies about 3.5 degrees to the northwest of Mars at that time.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Uranus & Mars 8-7-22 AM Stellarium.JPG


#25 MichaelJB

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 06:52 PM

can someone give me some advice on distinguishing a planet "disc" vs a "star".  I understand the concept, but I am not sure if I can make out the difference yet.

Are there any sketches or pictures that exist that could help out?

 

Thanks!




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