Breakdown: Why you can catch a rare display of Neptune

Breakdown: Why you can catch a rare display of Neptune

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - September 11 - Neptune will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Neptune. Due to its extreme distance from Earth, it will only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

Two of Neptune’s moons avoid each other through perfectly timed orbits. (Source: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology)
Two of Neptune’s moons avoid each other through perfectly timed orbits. (Source: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology) (Source: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology)

Neptune is the furthest planet in the solar system and is not visible with the naked eye. Uranus never appears brighter than a magnitude of 7.6.

Our eyes, even under perfect conditions, only see to magnitude 6.5. which means that Neptune, can only be seen with binoculars or telescopes.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.