As the moon reaches its new phase on Tuesday (March 21), dwarf planet Ceres will lie opposite the sun in Earth’s sky, in an arrangement astronomers call “opposition.”
Ceres It’ll be visible for most of the night with no moonlight to drown it out, but don’t expect mind-bending views: the dwarf planet will be a star-like point of light, even through a telescope, according to in the sky (Opens in a new tab).
located in main asteroid belt Between Mars and Jupiter, the dwarf planet officially known as 1 Ceres will be in the constellation Coma Berenices. While in opposition, Ceres will also be at perihelion — its closest approach to Earth during its orbit around the Sun — meaning the dwarf planet will be at its brightest.
Related: Skywatch guide in March 2023
From New York City, In the Sky added, Ceres will become noticeable from around 8:35 p.m. EDT (0035 GMT on March 22) when it rises to 21 degrees above the horizon to the east. Ceres will reach its highest altitude around 1:31 AM EDT (0531 GMT) on March 22, when it will be 64 degrees above the horizon to the south. Ceres will disappear when the sunThe light washes out at about 5:51 AM EDT (0951 GMT) as it sits about 28 degrees above the horizon to the west. (For perspective, your clenched fist at arm’s length extends about 10 degrees from the sky.)
During a close approach, Ceres will still be about 147 million miles (237 million km) from Land. The peak brightness will be around 6.9, which means that even by a telescopeit will appear as nothing more than a point of light.
Ceres is the largest object in the main asteroid belt and is the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system. Most of these organisms are located in Kuiper belta group of icy bodies outside the orbit Neptune.
Discovered in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, Ceres was initially thought to be an asteroid but eventually found to be much larger than other bodies in the asteroid belt, and was awarded the title of dwarf planet in 2006.
Although Ceres makes up a quarter of the mass of the entire asteroid belt, it is the most famous dwarf planet in the solar system Pluto Ceres is still 14 times more massive than Ceres, which is only 592 miles (953 km) across. If Earth were the size of a nickel, NASA said (Opens in a new tab)Ceres will not be larger than a poppy seed.
In 2015, Ceres, which takes 4.6 Earth years to orbit the Sun, became the first dwarf planet to be visited by a spacecraft. NASA agency Dawn mission He studied Ceres from orbit from 2015 to 2018, after orbiting one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt. vista.
Although Ceres lacks an atmosphere and magnetosphere, planetary scientists are keen to explore it, as it may be composed of about 25% water, a key ingredient for life.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the new moon or Ceres as it opposes and approaches the dwarf planet, our guides to The best telescopes And best binoculars Great place to start. If you’re looking to take pictures of the night sky in general, check out our guide on How to visualize the moonas well The best cameras for astrophotography And The best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you captured Ceres or the new moon and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, name, and location to [email protected].
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