Solar System Phenomena - Uranus in 2018

Sorry! Your browser doesn't support SVG.

The chart shows the path of Uranus across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +9.5 are shown. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint paths before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction.

The lower chart shows how the appearance of Uranus changes over the year. Below each image is listed the date, the apparent magnitude, the apparent diameter of the disk (in arc-seconds) and the geocentric distance (in au). Because the relative distance of Uranus does not greatly vary throughout the year, neither does its appearance through a telescope.

Uranus begins the year in the constellation Pisces. This green ice giant hovers around sixth magnitude so it is best viewed with some kind of optical aid. It is an evening sky object at the start of 2018 but sets ever earlier as it approaches an April conjunction. It re-emerges in the morning sky by the beginning of June and pulls away from the Sun, reaching opposition in late October. It is well-placed for viewing in the evening sky during the last two months of the year.

01 Januarymaximum declination south
02 Januarystationary point: retrograde → direct
14 Januaryeast quadrature
18 Aprilconjunction
23 AprilPiscesAries
12 May2.0° north of Mercury
25 Julywest quadrature
06 Augustmaximum declination north
07 Auguststationary point: direct → retrograde
24 Octoberopposition (magnitude +5.7, apparent diameter 3.6 arc-seconds)