Uranus is the seventh furthest planet from the Sun and consequently requires optical aid when viewed in any but the darkest skies. It appears blue-green because of the water and methane in its atmosphere. It has the distinction among planets in our Solar System of having its axis of rotation almost aligned with the ecliptic plane, with its rings and moons orbiting perpendicular to the ecliptic. Therefore, from our vantage in the ecliptic we will see the orbits of Uranus's moon from a polar perspective when it is near conjunction and opposition. Several of Uranus' moons are within the light grasp of instruments at our disposal.


Uranus with four visible moons, two on each side
Same image as before but digitally zoomed 4x.
Here is a composite of images of Uranus Mark took at Makemie Woods on Sept 11, 2012 with the 12” and Canon 60Da, and some graphics from Starry Night Pro for the same time. Eight shots of 10-sec duration at f/10 (ISO800) were combined to pick out the satellites, and even Miranda at magnitude 16.51 against the glare from Uranus shows up as a faint dot. The overexposed and bloated image of the planet is covered by a more properly exposed sequence taken with quarter second exposures, and this gives a more proper scaling of the planet size relative the satellite positions. For reference, the brightness of the other satellites are: Oberon 14.1, Titania 13.9, Ariel 14.4, Umbriel 15.0. The two “bright” stars at the bottom are magnitude 13.1 and 13.6, while the faint one to the lower left is 15.60. The fainter one just below the blue outline box is magnitude 16.2 - all according to Starry Night.