© NASA/New Horizons

134340 Pluto at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Dwarf Planets feed

Please wait
Loading 0/4
Click and drag to rotate
Mouse wheel to zoom in/out
Touch with mouse to dismiss
Ashburn
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 0°26' 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 34.47 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 2018 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 19h21m10s -21°40' Sagittarius 0.0"
Sun 19h21m -22°06' Sagittarius 32'31"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 09 January 2018
Sunrise
07:28
Sunset
17:04
Twilight ends
18:39
Twilight begins
05:53

22-day old moon
Waning Crescent

45%

22 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:59 10:43 15:27
Venus 07:33 12:17 17:00
Moon 00:47 06:34 12:22
Mars 02:55 08:01 13:08
Jupiter 02:48 07:57 13:06
Saturn 06:17 11:02 15:47
All times shown in EST.

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

10 Jul 2017, 00:09 EDT  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
12 Jul 2018, 05:42 EDT  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
14 Jul 2019, 10:34 EDT  –  134340 Pluto at opposition
15 Jul 2020, 14:59 EDT  –  134340 Pluto at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/New Horizons

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme