© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

136472 Makemake at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
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136472 Makemake 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, 136472 Makemake will appear at a separation of only 27° from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

At around the same time, 136472 Makemake will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 53.39 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If 136472 Makemake 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, 136472 Makemake 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 136472 Makemake across the sky in 2017 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of 136472 Makemake at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
136472 Makemake 12h59m10s +24°00' Coma Berenices 0.0"
Sun 12h12m -01°21' Virgo 31'54"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 26 September 2017
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


6 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:42 12:01 18:20
Venus 04:22 11:01 17:40
Moon 12:48 17:40 22:33
Mars 04:50 11:21 17:53
Jupiter 08:34 14:02 19:31
Saturn 13:08 17:45 22:21
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

23 Mar 2017  –  136472 Makemake at opposition
24 Mar 2018  –  136472 Makemake at opposition
25 Mar 2019  –  136472 Makemake at opposition
26 Mar 2020  –  136472 Makemake at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Hubble Space Telescope




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