Uranus Opposition 2019

Uranus at Opposition
Uranus and moons. Celestron Edge 11 with 2.5x Tele Vue Powermate and ZWO ASI224MC color camera. Image credit and copyright by Anis Abdul.
Anis Abdul’s composite image of Uranus and moons is from the October 2017 opposition and was posted to his Facebook page. The imaging gear used was a Celestron Edge 11 telescope, riding on on AP900 mount, that was “amplified” with our Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate to achieve 7,000 mm focal length. Imaging was done with a ZWO ASI224MC color camera . The best 50% of frames from 20-minutes of video were processed for the image. Software used was Pixinsight and Registax.
 
“One of the closer moon (Miranda) is actually visible in my stacks but is lost in the planet glow ,” says Anis. 

The “ice  giant” planet Uranus was in opposition on October 28th. That means that the Sun, Earth, and Uranus all lined up together at an instant in time on that date. Uranus is on the same side of the Sun as the Earth, so the planet was closest to Earth and brightest for the year and in the sky all night long. If you missed it: don’t worry. The slow-moving planet will remain at least 3.7″ of arc in diameter and at magnitude 5.7 for the next month. 

Because of its distance from Earth and near circular orbit (eccentricity of 0.046 vs. 0.21 for Mars ) Uranus will only  fade and shrink by a 1/10 of a decimal point by January 2020 when it hits quadrature (90-degrees from the Sun). You’ll still see the full-face of the planet because the phase is imperceptible from our distance. This makes it a naked-eye target in dark skies and easy to locate in a binocular or finderscope.

Uranus by Instagram user astrobobo. Copyright astrobobo.Used by permission.
Imaged with Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate on Celestron EdgeHD 8″ SCT and ZWO ASI290MC camera.

It’s star-like appearance allowed Uranus to masquerade as a “fixed star” for most of the history of humanity. Read our 2018 Uranus Opposition blog post to learn how the planet was cataloged many times by astronomers before being identified as a planet.

Did you observe, sketch or image with Tele Vue gear? We’ll like your social media post on that if you tag it #televue and the gear used. Example:
#televue #powermate #ethos #uranus

 
Uranus Observing / Imaging Advice
Nagler 3-6 Planetary Zoom.

Once your telescope has landed on Uranus, you need to confirm its planetary nature by ramping up the power. Our Tele Vue Nagler 6-3-mm Planetary Zoom (mobile site) in medium to long focal length scopes excellent for this task. Just twist the black barrel to zoom-in and be rewarded with the sight of a planetary disk. (No disk visible? Then you landed on a star). As a Planetary Zoom eyepiece it was designed for full field sharpness for any speed telescope, high contrast and transmission for natural color rendition, low scatter, and comfortable eye-relief. Use it to fine-tune magnification for the seeing conditions — no need to swap eyepieces to find the highest usable power.

Uranus” by flickr.com user Szabolcs Nagy. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Taken October 28, 2017 through a Sky-Watcher 127/1500mm Maksutov-Cassegrain with Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™. Imaged with ZWO ASI224MC color camera from London.
Tele Vue’s 2.5x Powermate™. Our photo/visual Powermates pick up from where Barlows can go no further.

Powermate™ visual/imaging amplifiers (mobile site) have some advantages over the Barlow. They increase the focal length of your scope with reduced aberrations, greater magnification potential, and compact size compared to typical Barlow lenses. In fact, Powermates™ can be stacked with no adverse impact! Tele Vue Powermates™ are available in 2″ barrels (2x & 4x) and 1¼” barrels (2.5x & 5x).

They can give a short focal length scope the boost needed view objects like Uranus at higher power. You can also place an appropriately sized planetary camera in the eyepiece holder for imaging.  But Powermates™ also have a special feature for imaging: the visual tops all unscrew to accept a specific Tele Vue Powermate™ T-Ring Adapter. This allows for attachment of cameras and T-threaded accessories. Most any commonly available DSLR, astro-camera, and even some industrial cameras will work with Powermates™.

Tele Vue Powermate™ T-Ring Adapters for various Powermates.
More Info

November 11, 2019 Mercury Transit

Gear used for observing Uranus can be used for the Mercury Transit on a Solar filtered scope.