30 Jan 2016

Mercury & Pluto now in conjunction in the Dawn sky

IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE to see Tom Pickett's wonderful images of the sky taken with a nice camera from his backyard in Texas, and this image is another nice shot showing all of the planets on view in the morning sky at the moment.

There is in fact another planet their too, Pluto, although it is rather faint at visual Mag +14.2. Mercury and Pluto are in conjunction at the moment in the constellation Sagittarius, and Mercury lies near the star Pi Sagittarii.
For 31 January the ephemeris information is:
Mercury RA 19h 10m 16.9s DEC -20 28' 54.3" Mag 0.0 Ang Diam 7.76" phase 0.45%
Pluto RA 19h 08m 57.5s DEC -20 56' 05" Mag 14.2
Sun RA 20h 51m 54.1s DEC -17 35' 44.2" Sun rise 07:52 UT

The dawn twilight makes Pluto a problem to see, although given crisp dark skies it is their and a challenge for Astro photographers. Pluto comes to opposition on 7 July and will be better placed for observation soon.


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