On July 14, a NASA space probe will make the first-ever flyby of Pluto and gather unprecedented data about the dwarf planet.
In anticipation of New Horizons flyby, this sky chart can help you spot Pluto in the night sky (with the assistance of a high-power telescope).
This chart shows Pluto's position in northeastern Sagittarius, as seen through a high-power telescope eyepiece with a field of view of 15 arc minutes. Pluto is moving from left to right. The first dot (labeled "Pluto") shows its position at 2 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. GMT) on Thursday, June 25, and the remaining dots show its position at the same time through the morning of July 2.
The position of the New Horizons probe is also shown in the chart, and the chart shows how it is zeroing in on Pluto. Of course, New Horizons is too small and far away to be visible even in the largest telescopes, but it's interesting to see how close it is getting.
New Horizons is the first probe to study Pluto up close, and no telescopes currently in operation can resolve the dim, distant dwarf planet well enough to get a good look at its surface features and composition. New Horizons' most recent images of Pluto and its five moons are already beginning to reveal never-before-seen details of this strange system.
After New Horizons passes by Pluto it will travel deeper into the Kuiper belt, a region of icy bodies beyond Neptune, where it may select another object to study. Only four other man-made probes have ever traveled into this distant region.
This article was provided to SPACE.com by Simulation Curriculum, the leader in space science curriculum solutions and the makers of Starry Night and SkySafari. Follow Starry Night on Twitter @StarryNightEdu. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.