PSA About Pluto

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015


Please, for the love of GOD, stop reblogging this post thinking that it’s photographs of Pluto! I have debunked this post until I’m blue in the face and I keep continuing to see it on my dash with exclamations of “omg! so amazing! what a time to be alive!” I refuse to reblog it again to explain how wrong it is, because inevitably people don’t read my comments but just reblog it YET AGAIN to swoon over how cool it is.

Those are digital drawings of an artist’s interpretation of what Pluto MIGHT look like, that were commissioned by NASA – LAST YEAR. They’re lovely drawings, but the post presents them as photographs of Pluto and people just keep getting fooled by them. I hate misinformation and I’m sick of seeing people get fooled by this dumb post. The actual photographs of Pluto are here now and they’re fucking amazing – let’s reblog them instead!


Just to clarify:


Reposted from

dduane: Taken from 476,000 miles out. “Somebody’s got a good…

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015


Taken from 476,000 miles out.

“Somebody’s got a good lens in that camera,” Peter says…

Reposted from

for-all-mankind:P-14 Hours (13 July, 5:49 pm EDT) – Pluto’s…

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015


P-14 Hours (13 July, 5:49 pm EDT) – Pluto’s diameter confirmed.

Pluto and Charon, seen on July 12, 2015, with New Horizons 1.6 million miles away. These images, like all those that have preceded them, are the best yet seen by scientists on Earth.

These images have helped scientists determine with clarity for the first time ever Pluto’s diameter, which until now had a significant margin of error. Due to the slight Plutonian atmosphere, it was difficult to gauge how wide the dwarf planet was.

At 1.6 million miles away during the time of observation, data from New Horizons have shown Pluto to be larger than previously thought, at over 1,472 miles across. Charon, for comparison, is 750 miles across.

In the image of Pluto above, left, the heart-shaped feature is beginning to rotate back into view. It is this Hemisphere that New Horizons will pass within 7,800 miles of at 7:49:50 am EDT tomorrow, July 14.

One final set of pre-encounter images are expected later tonight, July 13. Following this downlink of information, the probe will be silent until 9 pm EDT tomorrow, July 14, where it will send an ‘all clear” signal that the flyby science sequence was executed.

For the latest and up-to-date information on the New Horizons mission, check out the official twitter pages here and here, as well as the APL website.

Click here for all our New Horizons coverage.

Reposted from

dduane: “This is the last picture we’ll see of Pluto’s mystery…

Sunday, July 12th, 2015


“This is the last picture we’ll see of Pluto’s mystery spots for a long time…”

But it’s time to say goodbye to the “dark side” of Pluto – the side
that won’t be facing the camera when New Horizons whizzes past.
According to NASA, this face won’t be captured again during the mission.
Since New Horizons took years of planning and required a nine-year
journey through space, it’s safe to say we won’t get a closer look for
another few decades.

The dark side is where four mysterious spots live. Pluto seems to have a dark region around its entire equator, with the other face of the planet featuring a dark whale-shaped smear. The four dots are quite uniform in size and spacing, and scientists estimate that they’re each 300 miles across.

Reposted from

dendroica: New Image of Pluto: ‘Houston, We Have Geology’It…

Friday, July 10th, 2015


New Image of Pluto: ‘Houston, We Have Geology’

It began as a point of light. Then, it evolved into a fuzzy orb. Now – in its latest portrait from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft – Pluto is being revealed as an intriguing new world with distinct surface features, including an immense dark band known as the “whale.”

As the newest black and white image from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) appeared on the morning of July 10, members of the science team reacted with joy and delight, seeing Pluto as never before. There will no doubt be many similar moments to come. New images and data are being gathered each day as New Horizons speeds closer to a July 14 flyby of Pluto, following a journey of three billion miles.

“We’re close enough now that we’re just starting to see Pluto’s geology,” said New Horizons program scientist Curt Niebur, NASA Headquarters in Washington, who’s keenly interested in the gray area just above the whale’s “tail” feature. “It’s a unique transition region with a lot of dynamic processes interacting, which makes it of particular scientific interest.”

New Horizons’ latest image of Pluto was taken on July 9, 2015 from 3.3 million miles (5.4 million kilometers) away, with a resolution of 17 miles (27 kilometers) per pixel. At this range, Pluto is beginning to reveal the first signs of discrete geologic features. This image views the side of Pluto that always faces its largest moon, Charon, and includes the so-called “tail” of the dark whale-shaped feature along its equator. (The immense, bright feature shaped like a heart had rotated from view when this image was captured.)

“Among the structures tentatively identified in this new image are what appear to be polygonal features; a complex band of terrain stretching east-northeast across the planet, approximately 1,000 miles long; and a complex region where bright terrains meet the dark terrains of the whale,” said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern. “After nine and a half years in flight, Pluto is well worth the wait.”

Reposted from

New Horizons “back in action” after safe mode event, ready to resume encounter science | The Planetary Society

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

New Horizons “back in action” after safe mode event, ready to resume encounter science | The Planetary Society:

Whew. Go little robot!

Reposted from

Hello little world. I remember when we started getting the…

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Hello little world.

I remember when we started getting the Pioneer and Voyager images of the outer planets and their moons. That was a wild time, when bodies that until then had only been points of light turned into recognizable worlds.

One more of those coming up.


More from Emily Lakdawalla: Twinkling worlds in motion: New Horizons’ first optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon

Reposted from