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wesdon1

Tips for "knowing" when you are looking at Uranus!??

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Just throwing this one out there. Anyone got any tips for both finding Uranus, but also "knowing" that you're actually looking at Uranus and not a star very close to it? Uranus and Neptune are my Achilles Heel at the minute! I consider myself "Semi - Newbie" lol. Been using 'scopes for over a year, and have Skywatcher 114/500 newt. reflector. Skywatcher 130/900 newt. reflector and ( you guessed it! ) Skywatcher 200/1200 Dob ( mounted to SW EQ5 Deluxe ). I'm just not ever sure that i'm actually looking at Uranus, even though i've star hopped my to "it ?". Any advice/tips would be greatly appreciated!

 

Wes, Liverpool, UK ( Bortle 8-9 Skies )

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Uranus is quite easy to identify, and shows up as an obvious disc with magnifications of over 100x

Neptune on the other hand is much more difficult and requires around 200x, and under unsteady viewing conditions when you don't get sharp star images, is hard to distinguish from a star.

John  

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Colour is the other giveaway. Uranus is a distinctive light blue.

Paul

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Agreed. At higher powers it shows a tiny disk which looks quite different to a star. I've found even when at lower powers there is a different look to it so that it seems to stand out somehow.

If you have an app like Skysafari then you can also set up the field of view to show the same view as that through the eyepiece, matching the magnitude of stars visible and the orientation. That makes it very easy to match the star field and check that you are looking at Uranus. Same applies to Neptune actually. I find Neptune to be a deeper blue colour and Uranus is a greyish-green to my eye.

This is just an example for, say a 6mm Ethos in the 200mm f6 showing stars down to mag 13 but can be easily done for other eyepiece combinations and limiting magnitudes.

Screenshot_20200102-162250_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

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You could go old-school and try to measure or note it's position relative to nearby stars and plot it moving over time. I think this would certainly be doable over a time frame of a few weeks, and only days if you have a bright enough and convenient star very close by or if you have some means of measuring accurately such as a micro guide eyepiece.

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

If you have an app like Skysafari then you can also set up the field of view to show the same view as that through the eyepiece, matching the magnitude of stars visible and the orientation. 

 

Hi Stu, please tell me where in the settings do I do this. 

I have SkySafari Plus, and have never noticed this. 😳

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1 hour ago, Mick H said:

Hi Stu, please tell me where in the settings do I do this. 

I have SkySafari Plus, and have never noticed this. 😳

Which version do you have Mick, 5 or 6 as it is in a different place in each.

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Posted (edited)

yep I agree the colour is like light blushish but push the power if u can 200x and more and it will be a small circle

the first time I found it was in a 80mmf/5 acro refractor (using it as a finder) using it on my 10"sctf/10 then with the bigger scope I pushed the power to 300x to 400x power I cant remember off hand unless I dig out my journal.

use the 8" you will see the colour more in larger scopes so its easier.

joejaguar

Edited by joe aguiar

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19 minutes ago, Stu said:

Which version do you have Mick, 5 or 6 as it is in a different place in each.

I have 6 Stu.

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I find it's fun tracking Uranus down with 10 x 50 bins using Sky Safari on my phone, in the field. It's quite easy to identify it by it's position amongst the field stars. At 10x it's entirely stellar to my eyes.

As noted by others, look again next evening (like we get 2 consecutive clear nights..) and see that it moved as final confirmation. 

You could do the same with your lowest magnification at the telescope. Find an obvious asterism in the general area of Uranus and identify it in Sky Safari to confirm your true field of view then armed with that knowledge star hop to Uranus. A great way to kill half an hour at the eyepiece.

It seems then, that Uranus is best at very low power to find it and moderately high power to confirm your catch!

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14 hours ago, Mick H said:

I have 6 Stu.

If you got to the Observe section then go into Equipment you can set up your equipment in there. I tend to just choose the custom option as the list tends to be more US centric but if you can find your kit then that's all the better. You can add eyepieces and barlows too.

Once done, go to the Scope Display section and you can then setup your fov circles, make sure you tick the box for the one you want to be displayed.

Incase you don't also know this, if you tap top left then you get a shortcut to be able to select magnitude of stars and DSOs displayed, and top right you get options to choose orientation and the FOV circles displayed. The top three which you setup are shown as short cuts, and if you tap them then the display zooms so the indicator fills the screen. Hope that makes sense!

Some screen shots to illustrate....

Screenshot_20200102-210301_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

Screenshot_20200102-211459_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

Screenshot_20200102-211452_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

Screenshot_20200102-210534_SkySafari 6 Pro.jpg

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👍

Wow thanks for that Stu.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Stu said:

Agreed. At higher powers it shows a tiny disk which looks quite different to a star. I've found even when at lower powers there is a different look to it so that it seems to stand out somehow.

If you have an app like Skysafari then you can also set up the field of view to show the same view as that through the eyepiece, matching the magnitude of stars visible and the orientation. That makes it very easy to match the star field and check that you are looking at Uranus. Same applies to Neptune actually. I find Neptune to be a deeper blue colour and Uranus is a greyish-green to my eye.

 

Old fogies like myself just use a traditional paper atlas.  Uranus is so bright that anything which goes fainter than good old Norton's is fine.  There are many on the market, both new and 2nd-hand. If you see a brightish star which is not on the atlas it is Uranus or,  just possibly, Vesta. Their colours are quite different.

Neptune is a bit trickier in that relatively few traditional atlases go to 8th magnitude or below. Uranometria 2000 is a notable example.  A few more asteroids become this bright; Ceres (not technically an asteroid these days, but I'm an old fogey) and Flora are examples. The colour is still a dead giveaway.

And, of course, the BAA print custom charts every year.  I'd recommend joining but you don't have to be a member to purchase their annual Handbook which contains a large amount of useful information for the visual observer.  The 2020 issue tells you that Neptune reaches mag  7.8, Ceres 7.7 and Flora 8.2 --- there is no chance of confusion because they are in completely different parts of the sky.

 

Edited by Xilman
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