On the 23rd and 24th of January, 1930, a young astronomer working in Flagstaff, Arizona, scanned a small patch of the night sky. He was taking pictures of star positions, looking for anomalies that would signal movement somewhere at the edge of the solar system. He took the pictures then set them aside, not realizing…
As the New Horizons spacecraft approached Pluto this summer, it sent back photos from all angles, allowing us to reconstruct an entire day on the dwarf planet. Not one to play favorites, NASA has now gone and done the same for Charon, Pluto’s crater-ridden moon.
Mayhem in the outer solar system! Pluto’s four baby moons—Nix, Styx, Hydra and Kerberos—are spinning like mad, surely a sign that the once-ninth planet is gearing up for a full-out assault on the denizens (us!) of the sunlit realm.
Of all the craters on Pluto’s moon Charon, this one is unlike the others. The bright green marks a unique splash of frozen ammonia at a concentration higher than any other crater examined in detail on the massive moon. But does that mean it’s the youngest?
You didn’t have anything you wanted to do today, right? Good. It’s time for an even more detailed look at Charon, Pluto’s outrageously enormous moon with bizarrely complicated geology.
When the New Horizons spacecraft raced past Pluto this summer, it constantly snapped photographs both coming and going. This is exactly what it saw while zooming past the frozen dwarf planet. Whoa.
It’s no secret that scientists are incredible, unrepentant geeks, so we really shouldn’t be surprised that the tentative maps for Pluto and Charon read like the most awesome mishmash of exploration history and popular culture to ever grace a planetary system. And every single place holds a story.
Stop hoping that Pluto will regain its former designation as a planet. It isn’t going to happen. But the good news is, Pluto is something much cooler than a mere planet. It’s the largest dwarf planet we know, and one half of the first binary planet system. Pluto didn’t get demoted, it got promoted.
This is Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, in the most beautiful, detailed, highest-resolution single frame image we’ll be downlinking from the flyby this month. And it is amazing.
It’s been a crazy week learning about Pluto as the New Horizons spacecraft makes the first-ever close encounter with the dwarf planet. Join us as we live-blog the very first science results as the mission team reports back after closest approach.
Early this morning, NASA’s New Horizons probe made its closest approach to the Pluto-Charon system. Now after a full day of science and a long, long wait for the signal to reach Earth, we’ve received word that our daring (and darling!) probe is still alive.
New Horizons is racing to Pluto so quickly, we’re literally learning new things every single day. Exploration is a true planet-wide “Today I learned...” moment: we now know what makes up Pluto’s atmosphere, what makes up its ice cap, and exactly how big it is.
At less than a million miles from Pluto leading up to closest approach flyby on Tuesday, the New Horizons probe is sending back outright spectacular images of the dwarf planet and its largest moon. Every batch of best-ever images sparks speculation on what geology underlays the features on these distant, rocky worlds.
Today’s gift from the New Horizons flyby is our first-ever look at the surface of Pluto’s enormous moon Charon. The icy world is distinctly different from its parent, and is guarding its secrets closely.
It’s been almost ten years since NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft embarked for the Pluto system. Next month, it will finally arrive. The National Space Society commissioned the video above in anticipation of the spacecraft’s historic flyby. Are you all excited yet? Because we’re excited.
Taken June 9th from New Horizons, at a distance of 42 million kilometers, this is the best picture we’ve got to date of Pluto and its moon, Charon.