136108 Haumea at solar conjunction

2017 Oct 17

Dominic Ford – originally published on In-The-Sky.org

From our vantage point on the Earth, 136108 Haumea will appear very close to the Sun in the sky as it passes around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

At closest approach, 136108 Haumea and the Sun will appear at a separation of only 27°, making 136108 Haumea totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun’s glare.

At around the same time, 136108 Haumea will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 51.43 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If 136108 Haumea 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, 136108 Haumea 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 136108 Haumea across the night sky can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of 136108 Haumea at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
136108 Haumea 14h09m30s +16°13' Bootes 0.0"
Sun 13h28m -09°18' Virgo 32'05"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The details of this observing event were provided courtesy of In-The-Sky.org