Neptune 7 Sept 2018 01-14 BST

Jupiter, Saturn and Mars have all been on display this year but too low in the sky from Edinburgh to be easy to observe. Neptune is higher and an interesting challenge if you’ve never seen it before.

Neptune reaches opposition on 7 September and will be 27 degrees above the horizon from Edinburgh, higher than Jupiter, Saturn or Mars achieved. The size of the disc will only be 2.4″ and magnitude 7.8, but you should be able to make out the tiny disc and its blue colour in a small telescope.

The chart shows Neptune at its highest point in the sky from Edinburgh at 01:14 BST on the morning of 7 September.

Its largest moon Triton is also visible in a medium size telescope with high magnification, but quite faint at mag. 13.5. If you have a camera and overexpose Neptune, that can help to show up the satellite better. Some amateurs have actually managed to detect some cloud features using fast frame-rate cameras and larger telescopes.

If you image or observe Neptune and Triton, please post your images and observations to our Flickr groupFacebook page or Twitter feed.

Mark Phillips