Reply To: True colours of Uranus and Neptune revealed

Forums Imaging True colours of Uranus and Neptune revealed Reply To: True colours of Uranus and Neptune revealed


I recall this very point coming up at a lecture at last year’s Winchester weekend. Of course, it is well known that these camera images are enhanced. And some quite odd-looking colours can result from the combination of certain narrowband filters. Because news media are often uncritical, enhanced images can easily appear in print or on websites without any technical explanation of which filters have been combined. And members of the public think that the planet really looks like that. Sometimes the eyepiece view can help, and as I have been observing these planets since the 1970s I make a few comments.

The colours of Uranus and Neptune are similar when examined in the eyepiece. I have always described Uranus as slightly bluish-green, in reflectors of up to 1 metre aperture. That was again my experience several times late in 2023 using a 254 mm reflector. To my eye Neptune is just a little more bluish, but not much more so than Uranus. Of course, without a close conjunction, one cannot compare them in the same field of view!

I wonder if someone can work out when such an opportunity will occur? Doubtless it has already been done!