Uranus is a trapped exoplanet

Uranus: the overlooked planet

It won't be long before the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn say goodbye to the southern realms of the zodiac. And the coming Mars opposition will also not be optimally visible from Central Europe, because the red planet does not reach us very high above the horizon either. So what remains for the observer in our latitudes when his favorite playmates cavort in the constellations Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius? Perhaps the one who has only been an onlooker up to now: Uranus climbs further and further north along the ecliptic and reaches a height of more than 40 degrees above the horizon. Therefore, in the next few years there is a good opportunity to look into the outskirts of the solar system and take a closer look at this distant wanderer - be it with a small pair of binoculars, a telescope or with the naked eye.

Uranus is not able to lure the observer with conspicuous cloud structures, a magnificent ring or the play of its moons. But despite its comparatively pale appearance - at the limit of visibility for the naked eye - it turns out that this planet is able to win over anyone interested in astronomy.

This article is featured in Stars and Space October 2015