Path of Uranus, in South-western Pisces, for the period from January 2012 to January 2013, marked on the first day of each month (click for full-size image, 74 KB). A Southern hemisphere view can be found here (76 KB). Periods when the planet was too close to the Sun to be visible are indicated by a dashed line.
Much of the star field in the chart should be easily contained within a binocular field of view (which typically ranges from 5° to 9°). Stars are shown down to magnitude +8.5. Right Ascension and Declination co-ordinates are marked around the border, for cross-referencing with a star atlas. Printer-friendly (greyscale) versions of the chart are available for Northern (34 KB) and Southern hemisphere (35 KB) views.
Uranus reached opposition to the Sun on September 29th 2012, when it shone at magnitude +5.7 and measured 3".7 (3.7 arcseconds) in diameter. The planet was then 19.064 Astronomical Units (2,852 million kms or 1,772 million statute miles) from the Earth. During 2012 the planet's apparent loop was centred on the star 44 Piscium, which shone at very nearly the same magnitude as the planet. The two appeared closest together on September 23rd, when Uranus passed just 0'.6 (0.6 arcminutes) to the South of the star.
Click here (63 KB) to see a 'clean' star map of the area (i.e. without planet path); a printable version can be found here (29 KB).
Copyright Martin J Powell March 2011