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Old 6th February 2020, 07:58 PM   #1
xjx388
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Is Uranus sometimes as bright as Venus?

Ok, I expect to see some creative parody titles...

Anyway, I was outside this evening and I noticed a really bright light in the sky. Initially I thought it was a helicopter or plane approaching the airport some distance away. But it didnít move. Pulled out Night Sky and saw that it is, apparently Uranus. It looks brighter than I think it should, brighter than Venus has ever appeared to my eye.

So my stupid novice question is: is this normal? Here is a pic of the Night Sky screen facing that way and a pic of the light.

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Old 6th February 2020, 08:14 PM   #2
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No way is it Uranus. I'd bet Venus. It's darned bright right now. It's even visible well before sunset if you know where to look. It alternates between setting after sunset or rising after sunrise. Typically the brightest planet in the sky.
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Old 6th February 2020, 08:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by marting View Post
No way is it Uranus. I'd bet Venus. It's darned bright right now. It's even visible well before sunset if you know where to look. It alternates between setting after sunset or rising after sunrise. Typically the brightest planet in the sky.


I guess itís possible the app is off on its calibration or something...but other stars in the sky lined up ok. Weird but yeah, probably Venus. Or aliens.
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Old 6th February 2020, 08:30 PM   #4
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It's off because relativity finally failed.
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Old 6th February 2020, 10:50 PM   #5
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Sirius.
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Old 7th February 2020, 12:51 AM   #6
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[Airplane Mode] Surely, it can't be Sirius. [/Airplane Mode]
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Old 7th February 2020, 03:59 AM   #7
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Unless you're in a very dark place (i.e. way, way out in the middle of nowhere) you won't be seeing Uranus at all without optical aids!
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Old 7th February 2020, 04:13 AM   #8
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Well the sun shines out of it so I would say much brighter.
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Old 7th February 2020, 04:38 AM   #9
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They're both in the south west (Venus more west and Uranus more south), so I would blame your app or phone's compass. They're not exactly next to each other (and Uranus is no way eyeball visible), but in the same vague direction at sunset (well, where I am).
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Old 7th February 2020, 07:24 AM   #10
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Uranus can't be seen with the naked eye. That's why the pre-telescope ancients only knew about five other planets.
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Old 7th February 2020, 07:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Uranus can't be seen with the naked eye. That's why the pre-telescope ancients only knew about five other planets.
You said Uranus and naked in the same sentence
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Old 7th February 2020, 07:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
They're both in the south west (Venus more west and Uranus more south), so I would blame your app or phone's compass. They're not exactly next to each other (and Uranus is no way eyeball visible), but in the same vague direction at sunset (well, where I am).
Klingons have been recently spotted orbiting Uranus. Birds of Prey may be cutting down on the reflective light.

Or it's app failure. It's hard to discern the difference between fact and fiction these days.
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Old 7th February 2020, 07:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by DuvalHMFIC View Post
You said Uranus and naked in the same sentence
I never make jokes about Uranus. It's been done so often it's become worn out.
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Old 7th February 2020, 07:51 AM   #14
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What Wollery said, and almost what TragicMonkey said. Uranus is so close to the limit of naked eye visibility that no one had ever recognized it prior to it's discovery via telescope. You need ideal eyes, conditions, and knowledge of where it is to have a chance of seeing it naked eye.


ETA: Oh, and it moves so slowly across the sky that it's hard to prove you actually have seen it. But having said that all that, now is a good time for you to be looking for it.

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Old 7th February 2020, 07:56 AM   #15
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Thanks all.

Itís only been recently that I started spending time outside looking at the stars as a form of meditation/relaxation. I had never seen Venus so bright.

And now I know that maybe my phone isnít the most reliable instrument for star gazing. Maybe itís time to invest in better equipment. Any recommendations?
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:02 AM   #16
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I'm delighted to see a genuinely curious question as an OP, that has also provided some initial research.

It did get me thinking as to the relative orbits of all three planets and what would be the optimal spot to see Uranus and Venus at the same time (given of course that Uranus was bright enough to see from here at that distance.)
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:07 AM   #17
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Late October later this year will be when Uranus is at opposition, IOW visible at the nearly darkest time of night.
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:17 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Itís only been recently that I started spending time outside looking at the stars as a form of meditation/relaxation. I had never seen Venus so bright.
A trio of respected astronomers pointed out that Venus burns like a silver flame, the summit of beauty and love.
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:20 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I never make jokes about Uranus. It's been done so often it's become worn out.
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:27 AM   #20
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I don't think there's anything wrong with your equipment. The night sky apps tend to show you a very wide angle view of the sky, so at first you are likely to misjudge where in the sky things should be. Especially if you are viewing on a small screen.

Your photo is taken with a camera with a much narrower field of view, so the distance between the horizon and Venus appears relatively greater than it does in the app.

Your app may allow you to zoom in a little on the sky and therefore give you a view which better matches your perception of the real sky.
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Old 7th February 2020, 09:09 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Thanks all.

Itís only been recently that I started spending time outside looking at the stars as a form of meditation/relaxation. I had never seen Venus so bright.

And now I know that maybe my phone isnít the most reliable instrument for star gazing. Maybe itís time to invest in better equipment. Any recommendations?
Telescope
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Old 7th February 2020, 09:25 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Telescope
Binoculars might be a better place to start. Easier to use, and you can see moons of Jupiter, craters on the moon, and other cool stuff.
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Old 7th February 2020, 10:42 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Uranus can't be seen with the naked eye. That's why the pre-telescope ancients only knew about five other planets.
Not so. They simply would not have noticed it as it so dim and moves so slowly among the stars.

This is not very surprising, since it is between 30 and 240 times dimmer (and moves among the stars three times more slowly) than the next brightest planet, Saturn.


Originally Posted by wollery View Post
Unless you're in a very dark place (i.e. way, way out in the middle of nowhere) you won't be seeing Uranus at all without optical aids!
Yes this.

Uranus at its brightest (mag 5.38) is visible to the naked eye, under ideal viewing conditions, for someone with very good eyesight. I have seen it once in the near perfect seeing at Stavely in Canterbury back in the 1980s and that was after I had first found it in a Dobsonian telescope, worked out some nearby stars as reference points, so I knew exactly where to look.

For reference in the OP, Uranus will never be close to Venus at its dimmest (-2.98). My back of the envelope calculation makes Uranus at best case, just over 2,000 times dimmer than Venus.


Interestingly, the minor planet Vesta is also sometimes visible to the naked eye (mag 5.2)
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Old 7th February 2020, 11:39 AM   #24
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Iím really thinking of driving out to one of the many dark places nearby that Night Sky helpfully points out. I have binoculars (why didnít I think to pull them out yesterday?). I donít think a telescope would show me much here besides the really bright stuff but out there...Iím prepared to be awed.
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Old 7th February 2020, 11:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I never make jokes about Uranus. It's been done so often it's become worn out.
That's what she said!
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Old 7th February 2020, 12:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
That's what she said!
Yeah. First time I heard this was possibly unintentional. Was listing to a TV program decades ago, maybe "What's My Line," and as a lead in to the next segment the host said: "stay tuned as we find out if there are rings around Uranus." Said completely straight faced. After the commercial break the program continued and the contestants, as well as the host, were struggling not to crack up.
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Old 7th February 2020, 01:48 PM   #27
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That's why the "Uhr-Uh-Nus" pronunciation got started.
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Old 7th February 2020, 03:48 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
That's what she said!
Ooooh, matron!
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Old 7th February 2020, 04:04 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by jonesdave116 View Post
Ooooh, matron!
Well this is awkward....
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Old 10th February 2020, 07:32 AM   #30
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The first time I heard a Uranus joke, I was probably all of five years old.

Tyler: Where's he from? Uranus. Get it. Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it Ty.
Tyler: Get it? Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it.
Elliot: You're so immature!
Greg: And you're such a sinus supremus.
Elliott: Zero charisma!

I'll be 40 in a month and I still have no ***** clue what a sinus supremus is, btw.
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:00 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by DuvalHMFIC View Post
The first time I heard a Uranus joke, I was probably all of five years old.

Tyler: Where's he from? Uranus. Get it. Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it Ty.
Tyler: Get it? Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it.
Elliot: You're so immature!
Greg: And you're such a sinus supremus.
Elliott: Zero charisma!

I'll be 40 in a month and I still have no ***** clue what a sinus supremus is, btw.
Literally big nothing, but in context the rough equivalent to airhead.
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Old 10th February 2020, 01:09 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by DuvalHMFIC View Post
The first time I heard a Uranus joke, I was probably all of five years old.

Tyler: Where's he from? Uranus. Get it. Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it Ty.
Tyler: Get it? Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it.
Elliot: You're so immature!
Greg: And you're such a sinus supremus.
Elliott: Zero charisma!

I'll be 40 in a month and I still have no ***** clue what a sinus supremus is, btw.
I just watched a clip of that. It's from ET.
It's also a beer.
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Old 10th February 2020, 01:33 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's why the "Uhr-Uh-Nus" pronunciation got started.
I wish they had gone with Ouranos for the spelling.
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Old 10th February 2020, 03:31 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I wish they had gone with Ouranos for the spelling.
If only they had stuck with William Herschel's original name for it... Georgium Sidus (George's Star) after his patron, King George III


Also, "Neptune" was one of the names under consideration.
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Old 10th February 2020, 04:14 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
If only they had stuck with William Herschel's original name for it... Georgium Sidus (George's Star) after his patron, King George III


Also, "Neptune" was one of the names under consideration.
So we'd have been making bombs out of Georgium 235!
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Old 10th February 2020, 05:14 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Also, "Neptune" was one of the names under consideration.
Good thing we didnít name Uranus ďNeptuneĒ. If we had, then Neptune would have to be named something else, and ďNeptuneĒ is the perfect name for Neptune because of its blue color.
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Old 12th February 2020, 10:52 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by DuvalHMFIC View Post
The first time I heard a Uranus joke, I was probably all of five years old.

Tyler: Where's he from? Uranus. Get it. Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it Ty.
Tyler: Get it? Your anus?
Greg: He doesn't get it.
Elliot: You're so immature!
Greg: And you're such a sinus supremus.
Elliott: Zero charisma!

I'll be 40 in a month and I still have no ***** clue what a sinus supremus is, btw.
You shouldn't brag you have no sense of humor.
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Old 12th February 2020, 07:10 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Good thing we didnít name Uranus ďNeptuneĒ. If we had, then Neptune would have to be named something else, and ďNeptuneĒ is the perfect name for Neptune because of its blue color.
Interestingly, the sea is as much green as it is blue (sea green is actually a colour), so Neptune would have been a good name for the seventh planet, and when the eighth planet was discovered, they would need a name for it, and since it was blue (sky-blue is a colour) they could have named it after the God of the Sky.... and the God of the Sky is.......


Uranus
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Old 12th February 2020, 07:51 PM   #39
alfaniner
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Interestingly, the sea is as much green as it is blue (sea green is actually a colour), so Neptune would have been a good name for the seventh planet, and when the eighth planet was discovered, they would need a name for it, and since it was blue (sky-blue is a colour) they could have named it after the God of the Sky.... and the God of the Sky is.......


Uranus
Somehow, I don't think Jimi Hendrix got that memo.

"'Scuse me, while I kiss Uranus"
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Old 13th February 2020, 01:28 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's why the "Uhr-Uh-Nus" pronunciation got started.
I refuse to pronounce it that way. That not how I learned it.

To me it will always be "yer anus".
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