Close approach of the Moon and Pluto

Thursday 25th Apr 201918:49

The Moon and 134340 Pluto will make a close approach, passing within 0°04′ of each other. The Moon will be 20 days old.

From London, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 15° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:23 (BST) – 3 hours and 23 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 15° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 05:21.

The Moon will be at mag -12.0, and 134340 Pluto at mag 14.7, both in the constellation Sagittarius.

The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and 134340 Pluto around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the two objects at the moment of closest approach will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 19h38m50s -21°42′ Sagittarius -12.0 29’55″2
134340 Pluto 19h39m00s -21°46′ Sagittarius 14.7 0″0

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 102° from the Sun, which is in Aries at this time of year.

This entry in the observing calendar was provided by