The month of October is a stellar one (or “interstellar” one, if you will) for skywatchers around the globe. Not only is the month filled with spectacular nighttime shows by comets whizzing by Earth, but as National Geographic noted, October will also be the month where one of the galaxy’s most distant planets becomes visible by the naked eye.
The planet Uranus, which is made up of mostly ice, will reach “opposition” on October 19, National Geographic reported. That means it will be positioned directly opposite the sun and will reflect light throughout the night. The month also marks the icy giant’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit.
But make no mistake, Uranus is still very, very far away from planet Earth — about 1.7 billion miles to be exact. And although it is possible to see it with the naked eye, it’s best to view Uranus through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.
“It’s visible all night long and its blue-green color is unmistakable,” Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Daily Mail. “It may be bright enough to see with your naked eye – and for sure in binoculars.”
If you don’t have the right equipment available, you can simply try to find the darkest zone around you, free from any light pollution, and stare up into the dark night sky toward the constellation Pisces. Maybe even try to plan a quick trip to one of the world’s best skywatching destinations. Because everyone wants a good view of Uranus, right?