Despite its very long distance from Earth, Neptune is brighter than many people realize. At magnitude 7.6 this week as it reaches opposition, it is visible in most any small binoculars (7x35 or larger), plus small telescopes. This video details some information about the planet, and where you can find it in the night sky. For those looking for a more relaxed process, here is a more detailed step-by-step star hop to Neptune.
Looking for more than just ice giants? Here's how to find and observe IC 4756 and NGC 6633 from last week's Eyes on the Sky.
More information about double stars near Neptune / Sigma Aquarii: Find and observe HD 213067 and STF 2944
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Eyes on the Sky astronomy videos are now closed captioned, allowing for translation into 58 languages as well as benefiting people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Or, watch at work! (Just don't tell your boss.)
I talk about dark sky friendly lighting fixtures a lot - I mention them in most every video, in fact. But what are they? Find various types of dark sky friendly lighting fixtures here, or try these lighting manufacturers - and if you still have trouble locating them, contact me.
NEW AS OF JANUARY 2013: The U.S.-based home improvement store Lowes now carries dark sky friendly lighting with the IDA seal of approval - look for them in your store. Got a neighbor with a light shining in your bedroom or window somewhere in your home? Here's how to approach neighbors about poorly shielded lighting. You can also find the silver-crown light bulbs highlighted in previous "Dark Sky Facts" from these online retailers:
Making "Eyes on the Sky" every week isn't free. Not only do I spend 10 to 12 hours on each 5-6 minute video by the time I research, write, shoot, create graphics, edit and upload each video, but some graphics, music, costumes and other things I add all cost money. So I'd ask one of two things from you: Please either change your own outdoor lights and encourage your neighbors to do the same, or donate a bit towards my efforts to spread the word through these videos. Even as little as $5 helps - yes, really - but what would help more is a monthly subscription of $3 a month. That's only $0.69 an episode! And you don't even need a Paypal account; you can donate or subscribe with any major credit card you see in the button graphic. Thank you - I appreciate your support!
The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Telescopes and Amateur Astronomy
Eyes on the Sky reviews
How to view the Sun safely
Past Eyes on the Sky weekly astronomy videos
Dark skies organizations
International Dark Sky Association
Campaign for Dark Skies (U.K.)
Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting
Artificial Light at Night Database