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As the season progresses I have been meaning to observe Uranus which is currently in the constellation of Pisces. From my back garden I get usable views of the West and part of the South and as such have to wait until late in the evening to get any sort of view of Pisces. Last night wasn't particularly good for viewing as there was quite a bit of high thin cloud despite the generally clear weather. In addition as the night went on the waning gibbous Moon was brightly scattering it's reflected sunlight off the wispy clouds. I'm sure there was also a severe amount of aircraft vapour trails adding to the cloud. By 23.30hrs Pisces was high enough in the sky for me to attempt to find Uranus. With the Stellarium computer program as a map I used Hamal and Sheraton in Aries to point to Eta Piscium and from there on the same straight line across to the other side of Pisces, Epsilon Piscium (the conditions were such that this star was barely visible to the naked eye). Moving along this tail of the constellation in a southernly direction you come across two stars quite close together, Zeta Piscium and 88 Psc. With these stars on the left of my finderscope view a faint well defined bluish 'star' could be seen up a little bit off to the right hand side. I couldn't tell if this was a planet or not from my finderscope view but after centering it in the finderscope and observing the object through the telescope it was indeed a planet and therefore Uranus.

I was using a Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P on a EQ5 mount with a Vixen SLV 6mm eyepiece. Even at this 166x magnification Uranus appeared as only a small disk. There wasn't much colour to it other than a slight bluish white, if that wasn't just my imagination. I haven't been observing for long but the colours seem to be more obvious at lower magnifications or maybe my eye/brain just needs better training. It took me at least half an hour to find the planet so now that I know how to navigate this part of the sky I hope to revisit Uranus on a clearer night.

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Nice to see it as a disk. I have only been able to view it once in a small scope with bad seeing, to no magnification. Could only see the bluish star then. If the clouds will ever disappear, I'll try again.

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Glad you caught the planet. I use higher magnification in my C8 for Uranus. Last time I cranked up to 290x with a Pentax XW 7mm. The disk was obviously non stellar, and the blue-green colour evident. I find that higher magnification gets more colour out of the planets, not less. Managed a capture it as well

Uranus_223934_g4_ap1.png

This colour is very much like it was at the EP, even if the disk looks a lot bigger in the image than in the EP

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Yeah, I viewed Uranus last night too with my Starwave 102mm f11 'frac, first off with my Morpheus 14mm EP which even at 85x was easily decernable to be a disk and not a star. Got slightly closer views with my Explore Scientific 10mm EP & my William Optics SPL 6mm EP to give me 120x & 200x views which made the disk even more decernable. I had a much easier job locating it though as I used my Skywatcher Stardiscover AZ mount. :) 

Edited by Knighty2112

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Well done for finding Uranus !

I observed the planet last night with a 4" refractor. The disk is small and the colour is rather washed out but definitely a pale blue tint. I found 250x-300x worked pretty well although you could tell it from a star at around 100x. I didn't see any features on the disk and the small aperture is too little to catch the brighter moons.

Have you tried Neptune yet ? - it's even smaller but still different from a star when you apply some magnification. Uranus can clearly be seen in a small optical finder but Neptune can be more challenging, depending on conditions.

Edited by John
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Thank you for your comments. It would have been great to see the planet as per michael.h.f.wilkinson's photo. Fantastic! As I have only had a telescope since August I don't have that many eyepiece options yet. I have the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces that came with the telescope together with the 2x barlow. My first independent purchase was the 6mm Vixen SLV. From what I read, using the 6mm eyepiece with the barlow really would have been too much magnification for the conditions/telescope/UK? I can obviously get 200x magnification with the 10mm eyepiece plus barlow and I will try this at the next available opportunity. The other option that your photo and comments have inspired me to plan will be to detach the lens from the barlow and put it directly on the 6mm eyepiece which should give me somewhere around 250x magnification so I've read.

In reply to John, I haven't seen Neptune yet.  At the time of writing I don't know where it is in the sky at the moment. I would, of course, love to see it.

Edited by David Levi
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1 hour ago, John said:

Well done for finding Uranus !

I observed the planet last night with a 4" refractor. The disk is small and the colour is rather washed out but definitely a pale blue tint. I found 250x-300x worked pretty well although you could tell it from a star at around 100x. I didn't see any features on the disk and the small aperture is too little to catch the brighter moons.

Have you tried Neptune yet ? - it's even smaller but still different from a star when you apply some magnification. Uranus can clearly be seen in a small optical finder but Neptune can be more challenging, depending on conditions.

Think I got Neptune the other night in my Morpheus 14mm, but with the sky conditions at the time with the seeing and clouds couldn't get any higher mag views to confirm it, but it certainly to my eye was more of a disk than a point of light, so hoping to try again at some point this week. 

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Well done to find it. Interesting how the reports vary from greenish to blueish - I always see it as more blue personally.

Chris

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3 hours ago, David Levi said:

...In reply to John, I haven't seen Neptune yet.  At the time of writing I don't know where it is in the sky at the moment. I would, of course, love to see it.

Neptune is in Aquarius at the moment. The Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel software will show you where to look :smiley:

 

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Your eyepieces should do the the moment. You can use the 25mm first to find it and then try the 25mm with Barlow. If the seeing is good, you can try the 10mm.

You could consider buying a 16mm or so eyepiece in addition.

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25 minutes ago, Linda said:

Your eyepieces should do the the moment. You can use the 25mm first to find it and then try the 25mm with Barlow. If the seeing is good, you can try the 10mm.

You could consider buying a 16mm or so eyepiece in addition.

Thanks for the advice. I have been thinking about getting a 14mm eyepiece but maybe next year after saving up for a good one. I will make do with my existing ones for the moment. After all, it's still early days for me with a telescope.

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Neptune's position at highest position in the U.K tonight at 21:59. Magnitude 7.8.

 

IMG_0218.PNG

IMG_0219.PNG

Edited by Knighty2112
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I've just popped in from the back garden to say that Neptune is in my eyepiece. Thank you Knighty2112 for the information about Neptune. It's very small but with my 6mm Vixen SLV plus barlow lens directly attached (let's say 250x magnification) I can clearly see that it is a planet and not a star. Finding it was easier than last night's Uranus viewing - practice makes perfect. Can't really say it's a colour except perhaps grey blue. I don't have a computerised drive on my EQ5 mount or any drive except manual for that matter so it was a question of star hopping to the reported approximate position. I started at Lambda Aquarii and moved in a general westerly direction past a 7th magnitude star to an 8th magnitude star from where it was possible to accurately guess from the finderscope which object close by was Neptune. Feeling very pleased with myself, I am now going back to the garden to look at Neptune some more and contemplate it's position and vast distance from us in the Solar System. Far better viewing conditions tonight even though there are a few dense clouds around. I'm going back to Uranus later on all being well.

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51 minutes ago, David Levi said:

I've just popped in from the back garden to say that Neptune is in my eyepiece. Thank you Knighty2112 for the information about Neptune. It's very small but with my 6mm Vixen SLV plus barlow lens directly attached (let's say 250x magnification) I can clearly see that it is a planet and not a star. Finding it was easier than last night's Uranus viewing - practice makes perfect. Can't really say it's a colour except perhaps grey blue. I don't have a computerised drive on my EQ5 mount or any drive except manual for that matter so it was a question of star hopping to the reported approximate position. I started at Lambda Aquarii and moved in a general westerly direction past a 7th magnitude star to an 8th magnitude star from where it was possible to accurately guess from the finderscope which object close by was Neptune. Feeling very pleased with myself, I am now going back to the garden to look at Neptune some more and contemplate it's position and vast distance from us in the Solar System. Far better viewing conditions tonight even though there are a few dense clouds around. I'm going back to Uranus later on all being well.

Well done. Glad you found it OK. Cloudy here, so no joy for me tonight but hopefully get to see it over the next few nights. :) 

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Going back to Uranus tonight after observing Neptune made it look huge. :smiley: Having experimented through the evening with various combinations of eyepieces, barlow and barlow lens I couldn't decide if the best views were with the 6mm Vixen SLV on its own or said eyepiece with barlow lens directly attached. The former gave good crisp views while the latter gave views which were slightly less well defined but more exciting (bigger!). It was noticeable that the  6mm Vixen SLV with barlow lens directly attached gave brighter views than my generic 10mm eyepiece plus barlow. At approximately 250x magnification Uranus looked much clearer tonight than last night. I thought it was quite impressive. Although still not as good a colour as the photo shown earlier in this thread. The conditions are probably the best that I have experienced from my house since getting a telescope. It was so good that I even tried looking for the moons of Uranus. I didn't seeing anything - a bit too ambitious from my location or perhaps for my telescope I think.

Edited by David Levi

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With good 'seeing,' I've found Uranus puts on it's best show at from 200X to 300X in a scope capable of such. Such as my 127mm F/9.3 achromatic refractor on up to my 12" LX90ACF. For my eyes, I see it as being a pea-soup green colour. Others see it as blue. Some even report it as gray. It's being seen with high-power settles any qualms about it's true identity.

Good job bagging it!

Enjoy,

Dave

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Nice report, I personally feel Uranus is more a greeny blue with Neptune being more blue though this is using a larger scope, I don't recall actually seeing it in my smaller scopes, lovely to see a planet that is so far away though no matter what colour we see it as.

Alan

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