Washington is a gorgeous state. Lush mountains covered with trees that dance in the breeze, aquatic life filled rivers and lakes, and of course, the radiant geological wonders of St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. Clean air and tasty tap water don’t hurt either — but all these fabulous things come with one unfortunate consequence: clouds. Lots of them. So, while it is certainly fun to read about astronomy – or maybe watch a show, the other day I had another idea. I think of it as a “Where’s Waldo?” except that it is really a “Where’s Pluto?”

The following six megapixel image contains a host of the Sagittarius star cloud, taken with a four inch APO Refractor (Televue NP 101is). There is nearly 4 degrees of sky in the picture below, so it’s a pretty big patch, and with the visual limiting magnitude of about 12 on this scope, pulling out a magnitude 14 Pluto isn’t going to be easy! (Note the blue hue in the upper left corner is my lack-of-dark-frame processing. It will take some time to download the full resolution image when you click on it!)

Pluto, M24, M18

Pluto, M24, M18

Buried somewhere within lay the lonely “almost a planet but not quite” Pluto. At magnitude 14, it will appear in this image as no more than the slightest dark grey pixel… So the challenge is: Can you figure out which one it is? (t took me nearly two hours to “plate solve” this with Stellarium to figure out where it was! )

Hint: Flip the image upside down. Give up? Here’s an annotated extract: Where’s Pluto?

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