Turn your attention to the southeastern sky in the early hours of Sunday (July 31) to see Mars approach Uranus.
The duo will be close enough to share the same field of view as seen with binoculars or a low magnification telescope, as represented by the green circle in the image above.
“Starting Sunday, July 31, the orbital motion of the bright red planet Mars (red path with date:time) will carry it from the right (or celestial west) toward Uranus,” wrote Astrogeo.ca astronomer Chris Vaughan (opens in new tab), who works with Simulation Curriculum to create Space.com’s monthly Night Sky calendar. “On Sunday, Uranus will be positioned a thumb’s breadth to the upper left of Mars,” Vaughan continued.
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In the following mornings, Mars will continue to pass Uranus. The pair will appear closest on August 2 when Uranus is just 1.5 degrees above Mars. (Her clenched fist held at arm’s length covers about 10 degrees of the sky.)
According to Vaughan, the planetary “meet and greet” is best seen between 3 and 4 a.m. local time, when the couple sits nearly halfway up the dark sky.
The exact time of the event depends on your particular location. So you should check out a skywatching app like SkySafari or software like Starry Night to check the times. Our picks for the best stargazing apps can help you plan.
Uranus will appear as a blue-green dot and shine with a magnitude of 5.8, while Mars’ reddish dot will shine brighter with a magnitude of 0.2. (On the magnitude scale used by astronomers, lower numbers mean brighter objects. For comparison, the planet Venus shines brightest at about -4.6 magnitude.)
Uranus is often difficult to spot, being a point of light amid a background of stars of similar magnitude. But as prominent Mars approaches the small blue-green dot, it should be easier to distinguish from the celestial crowd. The sky will also be particularly dark as the thin waxing crescent moon will be below the horizon as the duo rises in the sky.
If you’re looking for a telescope or binoculars to watch Mars approach Uranus, our guides to the best binocular deals and the best telescope deals can help right now. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography can also help you prepare to capture the next celestial observation point yourself.
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https://www.space.com/see-mars-approach-uranus-july-2022-skywatching Use Mars to spot the elusive Uranus on Sunday