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Sci-Tech

Experience Earth on 'Pluto Time' with this NASA tool

Visit another world without ever leaving your yard. A NASA website gives you the time of day when light on Earth is the same as you would see on Pluto.

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An artist's rendering of New Horizons at Pluto. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

You can't fly to Pluto. You will never have the opportunity to set foot on its inhospitable surface. It took NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over nine years just to get close. Don't let this deter you from experiencing a little bit of Pluto back here on Earth. NASA has unveiled a "Pluto Time" website that helps space fans replicate the light conditions on the dwarf planet from any location in the world.

Pluto Time is a moment on Earth when the illumination matches that of high noon on Pluto. Since Pluto is 3 billion miles away, it gets much less sunlight than we do here on the Blue Marble. Like happy hour, it's always Pluto Time somewhere on our planet.

You can find your personal Pluto Time by entering your location into the NASA tool. It generates the exact time you can step outside and experience the light levels of Pluto. NASA is encouraging people to go outdoors and take a photo (with the flash off) at Pluto Time and share it on social media.

Pluto, once considered a major planet, but demoted to dwarf planet status by the International Astronomical Union in 2006, has remained a favorite of space fans due in part to its plucky underdog status. Excitement about Pluto is ramping up as NASA's New Horizons mission closes in on a flyby scheduled for July 14.

In the meantime, New Horizons is sending back increasingly higher-quality images of Pluto and its odd collection of moons. By experiencing Pluto Time, you just might feel a little bit closer to being part of the mission.