Amateur astronomers the world over enjoy regular views of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and even elusive Mercury. The outer solar system planets Uranus and Neptune, however, are often overlooked.
Certainly they are fainter, as they are further away, so there is much less detail to be seen. That said, they are worthy targets and should be seen as a challenge and not avoided.
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My personal interest in Uranus, which can be seen to the west in evening skies through December and January, started when I decided to have a bash at imaging it. To my surprise, it was easy enough to find and with a CCD plugged into the back of my telescope, easily revealed the planetary disk and four of its moons.
Uranus was discovered when 18th Century British astronomer William Herschel was engaged in the systematic study of stars in the night sky to identify double stars. For two years he studied the night sky almost every night and on March 13, 1781, he noticed a star in Taurus that seemed to appear a little different to the others.