Pluto Viewing, 2015

Those poor objects stuck in size between asteroids and true planets.
Post Reply
Christopher K.
Posts: 4720
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Pluto Viewing, 2015

Post by Christopher K. » June 22nd, 2015, 4:22 pm

I will attempt a viewing of Pluto before the New Horizons flyby, and I hope many in the local area who have the ability will follow suit.

Pluto is a difficult object to find, but it will only become more difficult as the next few decades go on, as Pluto orbit is taking it farther from the Sun. The Starry Night Pro Plus currently lists Pluto's magnitude as 14.1. The June Sky & Telescope suggests not to go after Pluto unless you can see the Teaspoon with unaided eyes. The Teaspoon is an asterism in Pluto's current resident constellation of Sagittarius.

There are two serious points concerning finding Pluto in the days before the historic New Horizons flyby. First, one must have deep-sky experience--otherwise one may be wasting one's time. Second, for areas with light pollution comparable to that currently surrounding HRPO, an aperture of at least ten inches is best.

I really wouldn't attempt a Pluto viewing until our little friend reaches an altitude of at least thirty degrees. Below are the times during which Pluto reaches thirty degrees...
22 June = 11:51pm
23 June = 11:47pm
24 June = 11:43pm
25 June = 11:39pm
26 June = 11:35pm
27 June = 11:31pm
28 June = 11:27pm
29 June = 11:23pm
30 June = 11:19pm
1 July = 11:15pm
2 July = 11:11pm
3 July = 11:07pm
4 July = 11:03pm
5 July = 10:59pm
6 July = 10:55pm
7 July = 10:51pm
8 July = 10:47pm
9 July = 10:43pm
10 July = 10:39pm
11 July = 10:35pm
12 July = 10:31pm
13 July = 10:27pm
14 July = 10:23pm
All times above are Daylight. During all nights listed above, Pluto's azimuth is 144˚.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4720
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Pluto Viewing, 2015

Post by Christopher K. » June 22nd, 2015, 7:36 pm

Right now, Pluto is 1˚18' northwest of K-class, magnitude 3.75 Omicron Sagittarii.

An alternative to the times in the previous post is to wait until Pluto achieves culmination--reaches highest altitude--for a given night. Below are the times during which Pluto will reach its culmination of thirty-nine degrees in the Baton Rouge sky...
23 June = 2:02am
24 June = 1:58am
25 June = 1:54am
26 June = 1:50am
27 June = 1:46am
28 June = 1:42am
29 June = 1:38am
30 June = 1:34am
1 July = 1:30am
2 July = 1:26am
3 July = 1:22am
4 July = 1:18am
5 July = 1:14am
6 July = 1:10am
7 July = 1:06am
8 July = 1:02am
9 July = 12:58am
10 July = 12:54am
11 July = 12:49am
12 July = 12:45am
13 July = 12:41am
14 July = 12:37am
Note that the Moon will be moderately close to Pluto the morning of 2 July.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4720
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Pluto Viewing, 2015

Post by Christopher K. » July 13th, 2015, 1:01 pm

More Baton Rouge culmination times for Pluto...
15 July = 12:33am
17 July = 12:25am
19 July = 12:17am
21 July = 12:09am
23 July = 12:01am
25 July = 11:49pm
27 July = 11:41pm
29 July = 11:33pm
31 July = 11:25pm
Note that the Moon will be moderately close to Pluto the evening of 29 July. We're seventeen hours and forty-eight minutes from history!

Christopher K.
Posts: 4720
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Pluto Viewing, 2015

Post by Christopher K. » July 23rd, 2015, 4:34 pm

A couple of weeks before the historic New Horizons flyby, lucky people in New Zealand got to see Pluto occult a twelfth-magnitude star in Sagittarius. The SOFIA was also used. The event lasted almost two minutes.

More information:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronom ... cultation/
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronom ... -07032015/

Post Reply