134340 Pluto will pass 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 1°12' 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 35.19 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.
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 2021 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|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|The sky on 14 January 2021|
1 day old
All times shown in MST.
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.
The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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.
|14 Jan 2021||– 134340 Pluto at solar conjunction|
|18 Jul 2021||– 134340 Pluto at opposition|
|16 Jan 2022||– 134340 Pluto at solar conjunction|
|20 Jul 2022||– 134340 Pluto at opposition|
© NASA/New Horizons