Your Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 6:52  
clear_day Transit: 12:49  
SunsetSet: 18:46 south
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now
Dwarf Planets and Asteroids » 

Dwarf Planet Pluto

Altitude: -1.0°   Azimuth: 127.9°   Direction: South-East

Pluto is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, a region of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. It was discovered in 1930 by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh and was considered the ninth planet in the solar system until it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. Pluto has a diameter of approximately 2,377 kilometers and a mass of 1.31 x 10^22 kilograms. Pluto has a highly elliptical orbit, with a period of 248 Earth years, and its orbit is tilted relative to the plane of the solar system. Pluto has five known moons, the largest of which is Charon, which is about half the size of Pluto itself. Pluto's surface is covered in nitrogen and methane ices, as well as frozen carbon monoxide and methane. The New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Pluto in 2015, revealed a complex and diverse world with mountains, valleys, glaciers, and hazy skies. Pluto's atmosphere is thin and composed mainly of nitrogen, with traces of methane and carbon monoxide.

Dwarf Planet Pluto is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius. The current Right Ascension of Dwarf Planet Pluto is 20h 01m 02s and the Declination is -23° 19’ 10” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current magnitude of Dwarf Planet Pluto is 14.46 (JPL).

20h 01m 02s
-23° 19’ 10”

Today's rise, transit and set times of Dwarf Planet Pluto from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 113.3°
Max altitude: 15.2°
Azimuth: 246.7°
  • Pluto is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, Pluto is visible with the help of a telescope having an aperture of 8 inches (200mm) or more.
  • Go to interactive sky chart

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Available Resources

Dwarf Planet Pluto Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Dwarf Planet Pluto finder charts showing where the object is right now in the sky with respect to the brightest stars. The first finder chart has a field of view of 50 degrees, while the second one has a field of view of 10 degrees. Click on each finder chart to access a full screen interactive Online Planetarium.

Finder chart of Pluto in Sagittarius on September,27 2023
Map showing Dwarf Planet Pluto in Sagittarius on September, 27 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of Pluto
Map showing Dwarf Planet Pluto in Sagittarius on September, 27 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Dwarf Planet Pluto is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

RA: 20h 01m 02s
Dec: -23° 19’ 10”
Deep sky finder chart for Dwarf Planet Pluto
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Dwarf Planet Pluto?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Dwarf Planet Pluto in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Dwarf Planet Pluto Distance from Earth

The distance of Dwarf Planet Pluto from Earth is currently 5,152,855,094 kilometers, equivalent to 34.444709 Astronomical Units. Light takes 4 hours, 46 minutes and 28.0745 seconds to travel from Dwarf Planet Pluto and arrive to us.

4 hours, 46 minutes and 28.0745 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Dwarf Planet Pluto from Earth as a function of time. In the chart the distance data is measured in Astronomical Units and sampled with an interval of 1 day.

Chart of the distance of Dwarf Planet Pluto from Earth in Astronomical Units (au)

The value of the reported distance might be somewhat inaccurate around the times of closest approach for objects passing extremely close to Earth. The value of the distance of Pluto from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Dwarf Planet Pluto to Earth

Between 1 January 1600 and 30 December 2499, the closest approach of Dwarf Planet Pluto to Earth happens on Sat May 12 2238 at a distance of 28.676624 Astronomical Units, or 4,289,961,948 kilometers:

Sat May 12 2238

NOTE: values for the closest approach are computed with a sampling interval of 1 day.

Dwarf Planet Pluto Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Dwarf Planet Pluto, according to the most recent ephemerides data. Magnitude data is sampled with a 2 days interval and there might be inaccuracies for objects changing brightness very rapidly during the course of a few days. For comets there could be large discrepancies between the observed and predicted brightness because of their highly dynamic behaviour.

Chart of the magnitude of Dwarf Planet Pluto as a function of time

Dwarf Planet Pluto Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Dwarf Planet Pluto at epoch 21 September 2006 00:00 UTC (JD: 2454000.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.25024871
Orbit inclination i 17.08900092°
Perihelion distance q 29.57399177 AU
4,424,206,206 km
Aphelion distance Q 49.31614768 AU
7,377,590,699 km
Semi-major axis a 39.44506973 AU
5,900,898,452 km
Orbital period period 247.7407 years
90,487.2769 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 1989-May-08 00:42:12
2,447,654.5293 JD
Next perihelion transit 2237-Feb-04 07:20
2,538,141.8062 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 112.59714167749°
Longitude of the ascending node node 110.37695795541°
Mean anomaly M 25.247189712188°
Mean motion n 0.00397846°/day

Dwarf Planet Pluto Physical Data

The following shows the known values of the most important physical parameters of Dwarf Planet Pluto. Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Physical Parameter Value Relative to Earth
Diameter 2302 km 0.1807
Mass 0.01309 x 1024 kg 0.0022
Density 2.05 gr/cm3 0.3718
Escape Velocity 1.23 km/s 0.1099
Sideral Rotation -153.2928 hours -6.4047
Absolute Magnitude -1
Geometric Albedo 0.3

Dwarf Planet Pluto 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Dwarf Planet Pluto computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Dwarf Planet Pluto in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Sep 20 20h 01m 18s -23° 18’ 20” 14.45 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 21 20h 01m 15s -23° 18’ 28” 14.45 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 22 20h 01m 13s -23° 18’ 34” 14.45 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 23 20h 01m 10s -23° 18’ 42” 14.45 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 24 20h 01m 09s -23° 18’ 48” 14.45 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 25 20h 01m 06s -23° 18’ 55” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 26 20h 01m 05s -23° 19’ 00” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 27 20h 01m 04s -23° 19’ 06” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 28 20h 01m 01s -23° 19’ 12” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 29 20h 01m 00s -23° 19’ 17” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Sep 30 20h 00m 59s -23° 19’ 21” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Oct 01 20h 00m 57s -23° 19’ 26” 14.46 Sagittarius
2023 Oct 02 20h 00m 56s -23° 19’ 28” 14.47 Sagittarius
2023 Oct 03 20h 00m 56s -23° 19’ 32” 14.47 Sagittarius