Universe Guide

What is the furthest thing we can see with the naked eye?

I'm going to limit this to three items, planet, star and galaxy to keep things simple.


The furthest planet that we can see with the naked eye is Saturn, the ringed planet. Its been known about since ancient times when it was first spotted. The rings were not known about until telescopes were first invented by Galileo Galilei. Uranus was first discovered by German born British astronomer Sir William Herschel on 13th March 1781 but it can't be seen by the naked eye, it is simply too far away.

It is not possible to see any exoplanets orbiting any stars, they are just simply too far away and faint to see. We've only just seen our first exoplanet but its only a spec rather than what it actually looks like. The first exoplanet can be seen at N.A.S.A. resource.

As the planet orbits the Sun like our planet, its not possible to give a distance because it changes all the time as it orbits the sun.


The furthest object that we can see in the night sky is at magnitude 6, the larger the magnitude after that would require a telescope. The closest star to that magnitude is V762 Cassiopeiae in the constellation of Cassiopeia in the northern hemisphere. The star is 5.8 magnitude and it will be very faint in the night sky.

The star is located at about 2,764.10 light years away or put it another way, it is 174,799,954.68 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The distance between the Earth and the Sun is known as the Astronomical Unit.


There is only one galaxy that we can see with the naked eye, albeit very blurry. We can't make out it is a galaxy, its just a blur. You'd need to go somewhere where there is not much in the way of light so somewhere away from towns and cities.

The furthest galaxy that we can see with the naked eye is the Andromeda Galaxy. It isn't the closest galaxy to us, there are a few dwarf galaxies nearby but Andromeda is the largest. In fact, the Andromeda Galaxy is twice the size of our galaxy and is moving towards us at about 75mp/s. Its about 2.5 million light years away currently.

It will get closer over time and brighter but it is not something that we need to worry about. The event will not happen for billions of years yet and when it does, both galaxy will merge to one galaxy and be known as Milkomeda.

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