© NASA/Voyager 2

Uranus ends retrograde motion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Uranus
Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
The sky at

Uranus will reach the end of its retrograde motion, ending its westward movement through the constellations and returning to more usual eastward motion instead. This reversal of direction is a phenomenon that all the solar system's outer planets periodically undergo, a few months after they pass opposition.

This motion was known to ancient observers, and it troubled them as they could not reconcile it with models in which the planets moved in uniform circular orbits around the Earth, as they believed.

The retrograde motion is caused by the Earth's own motion around the Sun. As the Earth circles the Sun, our perspective changes, and this causes the apparent positions of objects to move from side-to-side in the sky with a one-year period. This nodding motion is super-imposed on the planet's long-term eastward motion through the constellations.

The diagram below illustrates this. The grey dashed arrow shows the Earth's sight-line to the planet, and the diagram on the right shows the planet's apparently movement across the sky as seen from the Earth:


The retrograde motion of a planet in the outer solar system. Not drawn to scale.

2022–2023 apparition of Uranus

24 Aug 2022 – Uranus enters retrograde motion
09 Nov 2022 – Uranus at opposition
22 Jan 2023 – Uranus ends retrograde motion

Observing Uranus

Uranus leaves retrograde motion as its 2022–2023 apparition comes to an end, although it will remain visible for some weeks in the dusk sky.

Its celestial coordinates as it leaves retrograde motion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Uranus 02h49m00s 15°53'N Aries 5.7 3.6"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

From Seattle , it will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 18:14 (PDT), 57° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 18:52, 58° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 23:54, when it sinks below 20° above your western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

Over the following weeks, Uranus will reach its highest point in the sky four minutes earlier each night, gradually disappearing into evening twilight.

The sky on 22 January 2023
Sunrise
07:46
Sunset
16:54
Twilight ends
18:46
Twilight begins
05:58

1-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

3%

1 day old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:18 10:43 15:08
Venus 08:56 13:52 18:48
Moon 08:58 13:26 18:08
Mars 12:24 20:28 04:32
Jupiter 10:14 16:20 22:26
Saturn 08:54 13:52 18:49
All times shown in PST.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

09 Nov 2022  –  Uranus at opposition
13 Nov 2023  –  Uranus at opposition
16 Nov 2024  –  Uranus at opposition
21 Nov 2025  –  Uranus at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Voyager 2

Share

Follow

Seattle

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

47.61°N
122.33°W
PDT

Color scheme