You Have a Rare Chance of Spotting Neptune In the Sky This Week

published Sep 10, 2020
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If you happen to have Friday wide open (*raises hand*), mark your calendars for a stellar astronomical event. The blue planet of Neptune is expected to be at its closest proximity to Earth in the entirely of 2020, giving you the best chance of seeing it until next year.

On Friday, Sept. 11, Neptune will reach opposition and be 180 degrees from the sun, which is when Earth will pass between the two and be closest to Neptune. Therefore, this means Neptune will be at its biggest and brightest spot, giving us earthlings the opportunity to see it with some light equipment.

EarthSky recommends using a pair of binoculars while NASA suggests a telescope. As Neptune is the eighth planet outward from the sun, it will most likely be difficult for the naked eye to see, so it’s a good idea to have some tools on hand to be safe.

The blue planet will be visible near the star Phi Aquarii, according to EarthSky, which can easily be seen on a dark night. Once you spot Phi Aquarii, you might be able to see Neptune as well within a singular binocular field. 

Like mentioned before, this is your best chance this year to catch a rare sighting of the blue planet Neptune. So if you don’t want to wait until 2021, time to get comfy and watch the stars.