By Dave Fuller on 9/1/2015 12:40 PM

Neptune just reached opposition with Earth, and the oft-overlooked 8th planet has some interesting stats. Plus, it is not hard to find in the night sky with binoculars (see video below in this blog post).

Neptune by the numbers

This video shows exactly how to find Neptune in the night sky through the month of September. 

By Dave Fuller on 8/24/2014 3:49 PM
Neptune is just slightly below the dimmest naked eye objects from a dark sky site. Most humans can see down to about magnitude 6.5; at the moment, Neptune glows at magnitude 7.6. That puts it easily within the visibility of most any 7x35, 8x40, 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars from just about anywhere. The key simply knowing where to look. 

Five steps might make this star hop sound more difficult than it really is, but because I'd like everyone to be able to see the furthest planet, I am showing this one small step at a time, so no one misses where to go. The first thing to do is get oriented in the sky. The ecliptic - the imaginary line in the sky that the Sun passes through as Earth revolves around it - is close the area where all the planets appear in the sky. And Neptune is currently visible within the boundaries of the constellation Aquarius. To get an idea of where to look in the sky, check out the Aug 25 thru Aug 31 Eyes on the Sky weekly video:

Later in summer and through fall, Aquarius may appear...
By Dave Fuller on 1/5/2014 9:50 PM
The asteroid 3 Juno is zipping pretty quickly through Aquarius right now. It is fairly faint, reflecting sunlight at just magnitude 9.5 or so. So you'll need to look early after it gets dark, but before this constellation drops too far into the thicker portion of the atmosphere in the west. Look for the faint glow of Juno zipping past Neptune for a few days this week - watch the animation below to see how quickly

The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.