© NASA/New Horizons

134340 Pluto at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The sky at

134340 Pluto will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

At closest approach, 134340 Pluto will appear at a separation of only 2°44' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

At around the same time, 134340 Pluto will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 33.56 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If 134340 Pluto could be observed at this time, it would appear at its smallest and faintest on account of its large distance. It would measure 0.0 arcsec in diameter.

Over following weeks and months, 134340 Pluto will re-emerge to the west of the Sun, gradually becoming visible for ever-longer periods in the pre-dawn sky. After around six months, it will reach opposition, when it will be visible for virtually the whole night. A chart of the path of 134340 Pluto across the sky in 2014 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of 134340 Pluto at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
134340 Pluto 18h47m50s -20°13' Sagittarius 0.0"
Sun 18h48m -22°57' Sagittarius 32'31"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 01 January 2014
Sunrise
07:47
Sunset
17:26
Twilight ends
18:59
Twilight begins
06:13

29-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

0%

29 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:04 12:46 17:28
Venus 08:33 13:39 18:45
Moon 07:49 12:56 18:02
Mars 00:40 06:35 12:30
Jupiter 17:37 00:59 08:16
Saturn 03:48 09:02 14:16
All times shown in MST.

Warning

Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.

Source

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

01 Jul 2013  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
04 Jul 2014  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
06 Jul 2015  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
07 Jul 2016  –  134340 Pluto at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/New Horizons

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