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Close approach of the Moon and Pluto

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

The Moon and 134340 Pluto will make a close approach, passing within 0°21' of each other. The Moon will be 7 days old.

From Ashburn, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 19:21 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 31° above your southern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 19:27, 31° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 23:32, when they sink below 8° above your south-western horizon.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The Moon will be at mag -12.1, and 134340 Pluto at mag 14.9, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and 134340 Pluto around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 18h29m30s -20°00' Sagittarius -12.1 31'59"9
134340 Pluto 18h29m20s -19°39' Sagittarius 14.9 0"0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 96° from the Sun, which is in Virgo at this time of year.

The sky on 23 September 2012
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

7-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


7 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:52 13:41 19:31
Venus 03:30 10:23 17:17
Moon 15:07 20:07 00:03
Mars 11:10 16:10 21:10
Jupiter 22:36 06:00 13:19
Saturn 09:13 14:47 20:22
All times shown in EDT.


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

29 Jun 2012  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
30 Dec 2012  –  134340 Pluto at solar conjunction
01 Jul 2013  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
01 Jan 2014  –  134340 Pluto at solar conjunction

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