If you’re looking for the planet Uranus this week, you’re out of luck. The blue-green ice giant has been setting in the western sky a little earlier each night, and it’s finally reached conjunction with the Sun, which means it lies directly on the other side of the Sun from Earth and is lost in the Sun’s glare. The planet– and the Sun– are both in the constellation Pisces this month.
Uranus will reappear in the early morning sky in the late spring and through the northern summer months and once again become accessible to stargazers. The planet is often featureless, even in large telescopes, but late last year a team of astronomers at the University of California detected unusual storm-like features in the upper atmosphere of Uranus. Some of these features have been accessible in large amateur telescopes as well. As the planet reemerges from the Sun’s glare, Slooh members can image the planet for themselves and look for signs of activity on this distant world.