Okay, I admit, I am only writing this article based on the headline alone. Because I’m secretly 12. But, if you happen to be a total space buff, tomorrow will give you the best look at Uranus since the 60’s!
National Geographic says tomorrow will just so happen to be the best viewing day for the blue planet. But, you’ll be able to check Uranus out for the next couple of nights.
Basically, Uranus reaches its opposition tomorrow night. Meaning, it sits opposite of our sun and will remain visible all night long. It’ll also be its brightest and biggest since the 60’s, so we’re in for a real treat. This year it reaches its closest point to Earth, so the naked eye can finally see the distant planet.
If you need some math, Uranus is normally about 2 billion miles away. Tomorrow, the distance between us shortens to about 1.7 billion miles.
So if you want to see this rare celestial event, look towards the constellation “Pisces” for a distinct blue/green orb. More specifically, look towards the left fish if you have any issues.
But, it might not hurt to grab a telescope so you can really check out that big blue beauty. Might actually be a fun night to teach the kids about space! Nothing’s more mesmerizing than stargazing, seriously. Some of my fondest memories as a child are of my dad teaching my sister and I the constellations.
Alternatively, go for a romantic stroll and wow your date with your sweet knowledge about Uranus. Chicks love dudes who know about the solar system.
Also, if you feel like searching for more planets in the pre-dawn hours, Mars and Venus will make a rare appearance by the horizon. But, you might need a pair of binoculars to block out the morning sun.
If planets aren’t your thing, be ready for the next major meteor shower to light up the night sky come Saturday. The Orionids will peak on October 20-21st. If you want technical speak, the meteor shower is debris from Halley’s comet! However, that big thing won’t come back into viewing until 2061, so make do with its technical offspring.
So, look towards my favorite constellation, Orion, and watch between 10-15 meteors an hour.
On top of that, the meteor shower falls on a moonless night, so it’s prime viewing conditions.
So, October looks like a spectacular month for celestial events. Enjoy the crisp autumn air, pray for clear conditions, and bundle up tight to do some serious stargazing. Just give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness for optimum viewing!