#PlutoTime in Jishou, China

Jishou University campus at 7:44 pm, looking westerly. Click to embiggen.

Jishou University campus at 7:44 pm, looking westerly. Click to embiggen.

As you’ve probably heard by now, the New Horizons probe swung past Pluto yesterday, taking the first close-up photos of the most distant planet (now classified a dwarf planet) in the solar system.

Pluto is almost 32 times further from the Sun than Earth is, so midday on the surface of Pluto is going to be a lot dimmer than it is here. But how much dimmer?

Well, as it turns out, there’s enough light to read a book, though standing outside near a lake of frozen nitrogen is probably not a wise choice. Better bring a blanket.

NASA has a web app, called Pluto Time, to give you an idea of the lighting conditions on Pluto’s surface. Find your location on a map of the Earth and it will tell you the time when the ambient light on Earth approximates the conditions on Pluto, minus the starry skies and frozen lakes of nitrogen that your feet have just melted into.

Generally speaking, #PlutoTime on Earth is in twilight, either before sunrise or after sunset. For Jishou today, it was 7:44 pm. So after dinner, I went to the top of my apartment building and took five shots of the campus looking southwest to northwest, using manual mode* on my camera to approximate what my eyes saw. Then I used Microsoft Image Composition Editor to stitch them into a panorama.

* Auto mode on the camera would have overexposed the images.

Photo-nerd details: Nikon D3300, Nikkor 18-55 mm VR lens at 26 mm, ASA 400, 1/20 second at f/4.

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