Solar System Phenomena — Neptune in 2022

The path of Neptune against the background stars in 2022

The chart shows the path of Neptune across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +10.5 are shown. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint paths before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction.

The lower chart shows how the appearance of Neptune changes over the year. Below each image is listed the date, the apparent magnitude, the apparent diameter of the disk (in arc-seconds) and the geocentric distance (in au). Because the relative distance of Neptune does not greatly vary throughout the year, neither does its appearance through a telescope.

Neptune is the most distant planet in the solar system from the Sun and the smallest of the four gas giants. Because of its great distance, it is not visible to the naked eye so a small telescope is always necessary to observe it. The blue ice giant visible in the evening sky in the constellation of Aquarius at the opening of 2022. It is lost in the glow of sunset later in February and undergoes conjunction in mid-March. Neptune has no close encounters with the Moon this year, nor with any bright stars. However, it is in conjunction with Jupiter on 12 April, the first time this has happened since 2009 when the two planets met three times. Opposition occurs in mid-September when the planet is visible all night. It is primarily an evening sky object later in the year. Southern hemisphere observers are somewhat favoured for viewing this faint object.

01 Januarymaximum declination south
13 Marchconjunction
23 Marchplanetary conjunction: 0.9° north of Mercury
12 Aprilplanetary conjunction: 0.1° south of Jupiter
27 Aprilplanetary conjunction: 0.01° north of Venus
02 MayAquariusPisces
18 May0.5° north of Mars
16 Junewest quadrature
24 Junemaximum declination north
28 Junestationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
18 AugustPiscesAquarius
16 Septemberopposition: magnitude +7.8, apparent diameter 2.5 arc-seconds
04 Decemberstationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
14 Decembereast quadrature
28 December3.0° north of the Moon


The dates, times and circumstances of all planetary and lunar phenomena were calculated from the JPL DE406 solar system ephemeris using the same rigorous methods that are employed in the compilation of publications such as The Astronomical Almanac.