The moon will be close to Uranus in the sky tonight (March 24), providing skywatchers with an excellent guide for spotting the ice giant.
Uranusthe seventh planet from the sun fall in direction Solar SystemIts outskirts will be a mere two moon widths to the left the moon During a Friday evening for observers in eastern America. The moon will be in a rising crescent phase as light creeps across its face, signaling the transition from complete darkness new Moon On Tuesday it is completely lit full moon On April 6, also known as the Pink Full Moon.
During this close encounter, the planet Uranus will be Magnitude 5.8 and should be visible with binoculars or a small telescope appearing as a blue-green dot. Under the moon and Uranus will be the second planet from the sun, Venus.
Related: Night sky, March 2023: What you can see tonight [maps]
For skywatchers in western time zones in the Americas, the Moon will have moved east over the Earth and thus will have separated further from Uranus during the evening, appearing above the ice giant rather than to its right.
according to in the sky (Opens in a new tab)And From New York City on Friday, the crescent moon will rise at 07:32 EST (1132 GMT), reach its highest point at 13:54 EST (1754 GMT) and set at 20:29 EST. United (2329 GMT). Uranus will rise at 08:48 EST (1248 GMT), reach its highest point on the horizon around 15:50 EST (1950 GMT) and begin at 22:51 EST (0251 GMT). GMT).
Although Uranus and the moon will come very close together in the evening sky on Friday, that is just a matter of perspective from Earth and they will still be widely separated in the solar system. The Moon is on average 239,000 miles (384,400 km) away Land, but the closest planet Uranus to our planet is 1.6 billion miles (2.6 billion kilometers) away. At their greatest separation, there are 1.98 billion miles (3.2 billion km) between Earth and Uranus.
This is not the only vast difference between Uranus and the Moon, as the “ice giant” designation indicates that the seventh planet from the Sun dwarfs our planet and its moon. Uranus has a diameter of 31,000 miles (50,000 km), and is about four times as massive as Earth Earth sizeIt has a diameter of 7,900 miles (12,800 km). The Earth itself is about four times larger than the Moon, which has a diameter of 2,100 miles (3,500 km), meaning Uranus is about 15 times larger than the Moon.
The ice giant that consists of an icy liquid of water, methane and ammonia, atop a solid rocky core, also dwarfs the Earth and the Moon in terms of mass, and has 14.5 times the mass of our planet.
If you’re hoping to see Uranus during this close approach to a rising crescent moon, our guides to The best telescopes And best binoculars Great place to start. If you’re looking to take pictures of the night sky in general, check out our guide on How to visualize the moonAnd so do we The best cameras for astrophotography And The best lenses for astrophotography.
Would you like to take a more in-depth moonlight tour of our rocky companion? our The Ultimate Guide to Observing the Moon Whether it’s exploring lunar seas, mountainous terrain, or the many craters that cover the landscape, it will help you plan your next skywatching project. You can also find out where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with us Apollo Landing Site Observation Handbook.
Editor’s note: If you captured the ice giant Uranus and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, name, and location to [email protected].
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