This Month: The Best Look at Neptune!
This month, Neptune, the eighth, and farthest known, planet in our Solar System, reaches opposition. A body in space is at opposition when it sits 180° from the Sun in relationship to the Earth.
Opposition is the best time to view a superior planet — one beyond the Earth’s orbit — because it is visible for more of the night than at any other time. For Mercury and Venus, inferior planets located nearer to the Sun, though, elongation is the best time to watch. Elongation is when these planets reach their farthest angle from the Sun, as viewed from Earth.
Neptune, which is the only planet in our Solar System that can’t be seen with the naked eye, is easy to locate this year. It sits in the constellation Aquarius.
Neptune will reach opposition on August 27, rising at nightfall and reaching its highest point near midnight. So be sure to head outside this month an get a glimpse of the Blue Planet!