© NASA/Voyager 2

Uranus at opposition

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

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Uranus will be well placed for observation, in the constellation Taurus. It will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight local time.

From Cambridge, it will be visible between 18:10 and 04:45. It will become accessible around 18:10, when it rises to an altitude of 20° above your eastern horizon. It will reach its highest point in the sky at 23:26, 67° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible around 04:45 when it sinks below 21° above your western horizon.

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Uranus opposite the Sun

This optimal positioning occurs when Uranus is almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky. Since the Sun reaches its greatest distance below the horizon at midnight, the point opposite to it is highest in the sky at the same time.

At around the same time that Uranus passes opposition, it also makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed its perigee – making it appear at its brightest and largest.

This happens because when Uranus lies opposite the Sun in the sky, the solar system is lined up so that Uranus, the Earth and the Sun form a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as Uranus.

In practice, however, Uranus orbits much further out in the solar system than the Earth – at an average distance from the Sun of 19.29 times that of the Earth, and so its angular size does not vary much as it cycles between opposition and solar conjunction.

On this occasion, Uranus will lie at a distance of 18.51 AU, and its disk will measure 3.8 arcsec in diameter, shining at magnitude 5.6. Even at its closest approach to the Earth, however, it is not possible to distinguish it as more than a star-like point of light without the aid of a telescope.

Uranus in coming weeks

Over the weeks following its opposition, Uranus will reach its highest point in the sky four minutes earlier each night, gradually receding from the pre-dawn morning sky while remaining visible in the evening sky for a few months.

A chart of the path of Uranus across the sky in 2025 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of Uranus at the moment it passes opposition will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Uranus 03h47m30s +19°44' Taurus 5.6 3.8"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 21 November 2025
Sunrise
06:41
Sunset
16:16
Twilight ends
17:54
Twilight begins
05:02

1-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

1%

1 day old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:24 11:17 16:10
Venus 05:42 10:44 15:46
Moon 08:21 12:32 16:43
Mars 07:49 12:22 16:56
Jupiter 19:57 03:28 10:55
Saturn 13:36 19:24 01:15
All times shown in EST.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 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

21 Nov 2025  –  Uranus at opposition
25 Nov 2026  –  Uranus at opposition
30 Nov 2027  –  Uranus at opposition
03 Dec 2028  –  Uranus at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Voyager 2

Cambridge

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42.38°N
71.11°W
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