Pluto is at opposition today and is therefore at it’s best visibility for the whole year. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see this tiny world for yourself unless you have a large telescope and know exactly where to look.
On the plus side, the New Horizons space probe is only eight days away from its flyby of the dwarf planet and its five moons. In the recent images above, you can see Pluto as an ochre orb with dark markings while it’s largest moon, Charon, appears almost completely grey. Scientists are waiting for a closer look to discover the source of these mysterious markings; the first images from the probe’s closest approach will start to arrive on the 15th.
(Left image taken June 25th, right image taken June 27th. Click on the image to enlarge.)
19:40 UT – Earth is at aphelion. Distance to Sun: 1.017 AU.
07:05 UT – Pluto is at opposition. Distance to Earth: 31.888 AU (Pluto: magnitude 14.1. Sagittarius, all night.)
11:10 UT – The waning gibbous Moon passes Neptune. (Neptune: magnitude 7.9, diameter 2.3”. Aquarius, pre-dawn sky.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
2015: An Astronomical Year
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(Kindle & Paperback)
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