You can see Uranus with naked eye in Texas night sky this weekend

Dark skies and good eyes are all you need to see Uranus this weekend

This is an image of the planet Uranus taken by the spacecraft Voyager 2. NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew closely past distant Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, in January 1986. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory , NASA)

SAN ANTONIO – Uranus, which is not typically considered a visible planet due to its distance from the sun, might just be visible with the naked eye this weekend.

NASA stated that the seventh planet from the Sun was at its closest and brightest on Thursday and that “it is bright enough to be visible for someone with excellent eyesight under very dark skies and ideal conditions.”

Oscar Carrero, an avid sky enthusiast and San Antonio area resident, spoke with KSAT about the phenomenon.

“Uranus is currently in opposition from the sun. That’s just a fancy way of saying it will be opposite the sun when viewing it from the Earth,” said Carrero. “Anytime you hear that a planet is in opposition, then it’s usually a good time to view the planet at night.”

His statement mirrors what EarthSky reported - that the “planet is theoretically visible to the eye alone, but requires a dark sky to be seen.”

“Uranus is the closest it will be to the Earth for another year,” Carrero said. “If by close you mean 1.74 billion miles away. That’s about 7,250 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. You would need a lot of tacos for that planetary road trip.”

According to Space.com, Jupiter has a silver-white luster and appears in the evenings from mid-August through Dec. 31 and typically requires a pair of good binoculars or a backyard telescope to see it.

“What’s really cool about Uranus is that you can see it almost all night long. It should be visible for about 10 hours from the time it rises in the southeastern sky and sets in the southwestern sky. It’ll be highest in the southern sky, about 15 degrees shy of directly over your head, around 1 a.m. on Saturday, November 6,” Carrero said.

Fun fact, Uranus has 27 moons. That might sound like a lot but Jupiter and Saturn actually have more.

Most moons in our solar system are named after mythological characters from a wide variety of cultures, according to NASA, except for Uranus’ moons, which are named after characters from William Shakespeare’s plays.

Hoping for ideal conditions? The KSAT meteorologists have you covered - check out the forecast for our area.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.