Solar System Phenomena — Uranus in 2020

The path of Uranus against the background stars in 2020

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 hovers around sixth magnitude so it is best viewed with some kind of optical aid. It spends the entirety of the year in Aries and is an evening sky object at the start of 2020, but it 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 at both the start and end of the year.

09 Januarymaximum declination south
11 Januarystationary point: retrograde → direct
23 Januaryeast quadrature
08 Marchplanetary conjunction: 2.2° south of Venus
26 Aprilconjunction
01 Mayplanetary conjunction: 0.3° north of Mercury
02 Augustwest quadrature
14 Augustmaximum declination north
15 Auguststationary point: direct → retrograde
31 Octoberopposition: magnitude +5.7, apparent diameter 3.7 arc-seconds


The dates, times and circumstances of all planetary and lunar phenomena were calculated from the JPL DE406 solar system ephemeris using the same rigorous methods that are employed in the compilation of publications such as The Astronomical Almanac.