Astronomy Picture of the Day – New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 July 14


New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon
Image Credit & Copyright: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Inst.

 

Explanation: Will the New Horizons spacecraft survive its closest approach to Pluto and return useful images and data? Humanity will know in a few hours. Regardless of how well it functions, New Horizon’s rapid speed will take it whizzing past Pluto and its moons today, with the time of closest approach being at 11:50 UT (7:50 am EDT). To better take images and data, though, the robotic spacecraft was preprogrammed and taken intentionally out of contact with the Earth until about 1:00 am UT July 15, which corresponds to about 9:00 pm EDT on July 14. Therefore, much of mankind will be holding its breath through this day, hoping that the piano-sized spacecraft communicates again with ground stations on Earth. Hopefully, at that time, New Horizons will begin beaming back new and enlightening data about a world that has remained remote and mysterious since its discovery 85 years ago. Featured above is a New Horizons composite image of the moon Charon (left) and Pluto (right) taken 3 days ago, already showing both worlds in unprecedented detail.

Advertisements

Astronomy Picture of the Day – New Horizons Launch to Pluto

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 July 12

New Horizons Launch to Pluto
Image Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper

 

Explanation: Destination: Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft roared off its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA in 2006 toward adventures in the distant Solar System. The craft is the fastest spaceships ever launched by humans, having passed the Moon only nine hours after launch, and Jupiter only a year later. After spending almost a decade crossing the Solar System, New Horizons will fly past Pluto on Tuesday. Pluto, officially a planet when New Horizons launched, has never been visited by a spacecraft or photographed up close. After Pluto, the robot spaceship will visit one or more Kuiper Belt Objects orbiting the Sun even further out than Pluto. Pictured, the New Horizons craft launches into space atop a powerful Atlas V rocket.

Daily Feng Shui News for Feb. 18th – ‘Pluto Day’

It was on this date in 1930 that ex-planet Pluto was discovered. On this ‘Pluto Day,’ download an image of Pluto’s glyph and reproduce it in cornmeal on the threshold of your entryway door. It is said that doing so will attract the formidable attributes that Pluto is famous for. Considering that Pluto wields considerable power, you can expect to feel pretty potent after enacting this exercise. Let the cornmeal blow away or sweep it away after leaving it in place for twenty-four hours.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Daily Cosmic Calendar for October 17

If you are feeling somewhat sluggish and moody, chalk it up to the continuation of the void Moon in Scorpio. Engaging in exercise routines, favorite hobbies, arts and crafts may be the secret key that leads you back to wellness — particularly as the Moon parallels Mercury (8:55AM PDT).  However, Pluto is playing the proverbial spoiler when this planet that rules over the underworld and extreme behavior patterns forms a parallel with the Moon (4:15PM PDT). Throwing your weight around and pulling strings to get your way on the job can boomerang against you.  Meanwhile, the Moon finally leaves void status in Scorpio by entering upbeat, fiery Sagittarius (5:27PM PDT). Fun, games and sports are highlighted over the next 48 hours. Pluto returns to the fray a few hours later on behalf of progress and in-depth studies as the Sun makes an inspirational, 72-degree link to this distant celestial body (8:59PM PDT).  Get ready for a cavalcade of alignments tomorrow when five stellar contacts strive for supremacy in the early hours.

NASA Image of the Day for November 20th

Montage

This montage of New Horizons images shows Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, and were taken during the spacecraft’s Jupiter flyby in early 2007. The image of Jupiter is an infrared color composite taken by the spacecraft’s near-infrared imaging spectrometer, the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array. The infrared wavelengths used highlight variations in the altitude of the Jovian cloud tops, with blue denoting high-altitude clouds and hazes, and red indicating deeper clouds. The prominent bluish-white oval is the Great Red Spot. The observation was made at a solar phase angle of 75 degrees but has been projected onto a crescent to remove distortion caused by Jupiter’s rotation during the scan. The image of Io is an approximately true-color composite taken by the panchromatic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager with color information provided by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera. The image shows a major eruption in progress on Io’s night side, at the northern volcano Tvashtar. Incandescent lava glows red beneath a volcanic plume, whose uppermost portions are illuminated by sunlight. The plume appears blue due to scattering of light by small particles within it.

This montage originally appeared on the cover of the Oct. 12, 2007, issue of Science magazine.

Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics