(Copyright NASA/ESA Hubble)
At opposition, Uranus is directly opposite the sun in the sky, as seen from Earth. This means that Uranus is at its closest approach to Earth and is visible in the sky all night long. When a planet is at opposition, it rises in the east as the sun sets in the west and sets in the west as the sun rises in the east.
At opposition, Uranus appears brighter and larger in the sky than at other times of the year. This is because the planet is closer to Earth and more of its reflected sunlight is reaching our planet. It is a good time to observe Uranus with telescopes or binoculars, as the planet will be visible all night and will be at its best for viewing.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and is classified as an ice giant. It is similar in size to Neptune and is composed mostly of water, methane, and ammonia. Uranus is known for its tilted axis, which causes the planet to rotate on its side. This means that the north and south poles of Uranus are located at the points where the planet would normally have its equator.
Uranus has 27 known moons and a system of rings. The largest moons, Miranda, Ariel, and Umbriel, were discovered in the 19th century. Uranus was the first planet to be discovered by telescope, and it was named after the Roman god of the sky.
The Geminid meteor shower is an annual meteor shower that occurs in mid-December. It is called the Geminid meteor shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini in the night sky. The Geminid meteor shower is usually one of the best meteor showers of the year, with up to 120 meteors visible per hour at its peak. The Geminids are caused by debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, which orbits the Sun once every 1.4 years.
The meteors are visible from around December 4th to 17th each year, with the peak of the shower occurring on the night of December 13th and the early morning of December 14th. To see the Geminids, you should go to a location with a clear, dark sky and look up towards the constellation Gemini. The best time to view the meteor shower is from around 10:00 p.m. to dawn.
Ok so this might be a little premature 10 years out from the event, but hey – why not get the hype machine rolling early right? There’s a lot of time to prepare and practice or at the very least, scratch a few days off your future calendar to come join us and the rest of Sydney for a total solar eclipse with a “greatest duration” of totality that passes right over the Bintel store in Glebe! Almost 4 glorious minutes of darkness await during totality. To check the map for your predicted time and proximity to totality check NASA’s website here.