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New Horizons Returns Last Bits of 2015 Flyby Data to Earth

Postby bystander » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:54 pm

New Horizons Returns Last Bits of 2015 Flyby Data to Earth
NASA | JHU-APL | SwRI | New Horizons | 2016 Oct 27
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MIT: Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart

Postby bystander » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:58 pm

Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2016 Nov 16

Data from New Horizons mission suggest a water-ice ocean lies beneath Pluto’s heart-shaped basin.

Beneath Pluto’s “heart” lies a cold, slushy ocean of water ice, according to data from NASA’s New Horizons mission. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the New Horizons team, including researchers from MIT, reports that the dwarf planet’s most prominent surface feature — a heart-shaped region named Tombaugh Regio — may harbor a bulging, viscous, liquid ocean just below its surface.

The existence of a subsurface ocean may solve a longstanding puzzle: For decades, astronomers have observed that Tombaugh Regio, which is Pluto’s brightest region, aligns almost exactly opposite from the dwarf planet’s moon, Charon, in a locked orientation that has lacked a convincing explanation.

A thick, heavy ocean, the new data suggest, may have served as a “gravitational anomaly,” or weight, which would factor heavily in Pluto and Charon’s gravitational tug-of-war. Over millions of years, the planet would have spun around, aligning its subsurface ocean and the heart-shaped region above it, almost exactly opposite along the line connecting Pluto and Charon. ...

New analysis adds support for a subsurface ocean on Pluto
University of California, Santa Cruz | 2016 Nov 16

Findings suggest other large objects in the Kuiper belt may also have liquid oceans beneath frozen shells ...

Reorientation of Sputnik Planitia implies a subsurface ocean on Pluto - F. Nimmo et al

Cracked, Frozen and Tipped Over: New Clues From Pluto's Past
University of Arizona | 2016 Nov 16

Research by two UA planetary scientists reveals fascinating clues about Pluto, suggesting the small world at the fringes of our solar system is much more active than anyone ever imagined. ...

Reorientation and faulting of Pluto due to volatile loading within Sputnik Planitia - James T. Keane et al
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Re: MIT: Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart

Postby neufer » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:21 pm

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Maryland: A New Perspective on How Pluto's "Icy Heart"

Postby bystander » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:10 pm

Modeling Offers New Perspective on How Pluto’s “Icy Heart” Came to Be
University of Maryland | College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences | 2016 Nov 30

Pluto and Charon.jpg

New UMD-led study suggests heart's location and Charon's existence led to heart's formation

Pluto’s “icy heart” is a bright, two-lobed feature on its surface that has attracted researchers ever since its discovery by the NASA New Horizons team in 2015. Of particular interest is the heart’s western lobe, informally named Sputnik Planitia, a deep basin containing three kinds of ices—frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide—and appearing opposite Charon, Pluto’s tidally locked moon. Sputnik Planitia’s unique attributes have spurred a number of scenarios for its formation, all of which identify the feature as an impact basin, a depression created by a smaller body striking Pluto at extremely high speed.

A new study led by Douglas Hamilton, professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland, instead suggests that Sputnik Planitia formed early in Pluto’s history and that its attributes are inevitable consequences of evolutionary processes. ...

“The main difference between my model and others is that I suggest that the ice cap formed early, when Pluto was still spinning quickly, and that the basin formed later and not from an impact,” said Hamilton, who is lead author of the paper. “The ice cap provides a slight asymmetry that either locks toward or away from Charon when Pluto’s spin slows to match the orbital motion of the moon.” ...

Scientists Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart
NASA | JHU-APL | SwRI | New Horizons | 2016 Dec 01

The rapid formation of Sputnik Planitia early in Pluto’s history - Douglas P. Hamilton et al
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WUSTL: Could There Be Life in Pluto's Ocean?

Postby bystander » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:08 pm

Could There Be Life in Pluto's Ocean?
Washington University, St. Louis | 2016 Dec 01


Pluto is thought to possess a subsurface ocean, which is not so much a sign of water as it is a tremendous clue that other dwarf planets in deep space also may contain similarly exotic oceans, naturally leading to the question of life, said one co-investigator with NASA’s New Horizon mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

William McKinnon ... argues that beneath the heart-shaped region on Pluto known as Sputnik Planitia there lies an ocean laden with ammonia.

The presence of the pungent, colorless liquid helps to explain not only Pluto’s orientation in space but also the persistence of the massive, ice-capped ocean that other researchers call “slushy” — but McKinnon prefers to depict as syrupy. ...

viewtopic.php?p=258192#p258192
viewtopic.php?p=264246#p264246
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Re: MIT: Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart

Postby neufer » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:59 pm

Seaquest wrote:
It seems there was a post by Alohascope predating NASA on the discovery of the ocean. I remember his observation as not being well received. Seems odd that they were not applauded at the time.

The concept of "subsurface oceans of medium-sized outer planet satellites and large trans-neptunian objects" preceded the 2015 the New Horizons flyby of Pluto by at least a decade:

Hussmann, Hauke; Sohl, Frank; Spohn, Tilman (November 2006). "Subsurface oceans and deep interiors of medium-sized outer planet satellites and large trans-neptunian objects" (PDF). Icarus. 185 (1): 258–273. Bibcode:2006Icar..185..258H. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2006.06.005.

Alohascope was making a number of additional (and probably unwarranted) assumptions:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=35460&p=251571#p251571
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Re: MIT: Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart

Postby geckzilla » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:53 pm

Alohascope was a dick about everything. You wanna ram stuff down our throats too? You can join him. I've got no patience for guest accounts. For all I know you are Alohascope.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: MIT: Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart

Postby Seaquest » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:52 pm

geckzilla wrote:Alohascope was a dick about everything. You wanna ram stuff down our throats too? You can join him. I've got no patience for guest accounts. For all I know you are Alohascope.


I speak merely as Seaquest, but surely if you approached the site owners they would eliminate Guest Accounts? While I did not see any cause for anyone to dislike ALohascope I do understand your angst, as even if you agreed with Alohascope the vehement opposition from some of the other posters would force you to take whatever measures necessary to appease them.

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Re: MIT: Pluto's Icy, Slushy Heart

Postby geckzilla » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:23 pm

Seaquest wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Alohascope was a dick about everything. You wanna ram stuff down our throats too? You can join him. I've got no patience for guest accounts. For all I know you are Alohascope.


I speak merely as Seaquest, but surely if you approached the site owners they would eliminate Guest Accounts? While I did not see any cause for anyone to dislike ALohascope I do understand your angst, as even if you agreed with Alohascope the vehement opposition from some of the other posters would force you to take whatever measures necessary to appease them.

Guest accounts are for people who temporarily visit the forum. People who engage in long, drawn out battles tend to get banned. I can't PM guest accounts as a moderator or do anything, really, so they just get banned quickly. Most guests make good use of the system. A few like to engage in combat. Those ones usually go bye bye because they're not there for any purpose other than apparently to ruffle our feathers. For whatever reason, they just like to do that. And so I respond by stopping it. There's nothing more to it. Now please leave me alone.
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IAU: First Step in Official Naming of Pluto System Features

Postby bystander » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:27 pm

Official Naming of Surface Features on Pluto and its Satellites: First Step Approved
International Astronomical Union | 2017 Feb 23

The New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its satellites returned a scientific treasure trove of information about these distant and surprisingly complex worlds, showing a vast nitrogen glacier as well as ice mountains, canyons, cliffs, craters and more. Now the categories for official names have been approved and the name proposals can be submitted by the New Horizons team.

In 2015, in partnership with NASA’s New Horizons mission and the SETI Institute, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) endorsed the Our Pluto naming campaign, which allowed the public to participate in the exploration of Pluto by proposing names for surface features on Pluto and its satellites that were still awaiting discovery. Each of the system's six worlds was designated a set of naming themes set out by the IAU's Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN). The public responded with overwhelming enthusiasm, suggesting and voting on thousands of names within these categories, as well as proposing names not fitting the approved set of themes.

Working with the New Horizons team, the IAU has agreed to revised naming themes (listed below) for Pluto, and its largest moon, Charon. For its four smaller moons — Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra — the themes remain unchanged. Some of these themes build on the connection between the Roman god Pluto and the mythology of the underworld. Other themes celebrate the human spirit of exploration.

    Pluto:
      Gods, goddesses, and other beings associated with the Underworld from mythology, folklore and literature.
      Names for the Underworld and for Underworld locales from mythology, folklore and literature.
      Heroes and other explorers of the Underworld.
      Scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
      Pioneering space missions and spacecraft.
      Historic pioneers who crossed new horizons in the exploration of the Earth, sea and sky.
    Charon:
      Destinations and milestones of fictional space and other exploration.
      Fictional and mythological vessels of space and other exploration.
      Fictional and mythological voyagers, travellers and explorers.
      Authors and artists associated with space exploration, especially Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
    Styx:
      River gods.
    Nix:
      Deities of the night.
    Kerberos:
      Dogs from literature, mythology and history.
    Hydra:
      Legendary serpents and dragons.
Using the revised themes, the New Horizons team will now propose names for the surface features to the IAU, as the body responsible for the official naming of celestial bodies and their surface features. The IAU’s Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature will then decide on the formal names. ...
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
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In the not too distant future...

Postby neufer » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:07 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secre ... nth_Planet wrote:
<<The Secret of the Ninth Planet is a science-fiction novel written by Donald A. Wollheim and first published in the United States in 1959 by the John C. Winston Co. Wollheim takes his heroes on a grand tour of the solar system as that team struggles to prevent an alien force from blowing up the sun.

Partway to Saturn they encounter a Plutonian ship, a dumbbell shaped, globe-and-rod craft that launches what looks like a lightning bolt at Magellan. The bolt is absorbed by the bazooka rocket that the men had already launched at the alien ship. A tactical atomic bomb on a rocket obliterates half of the Plutonian ship, which flees.

At Saturn they find the Sun-tap station on Iapetus and, wary of booby traps, drop an H-bomb on it. At Uranus the Sun-tap station sits on Oberon and again they wipe it out with a bomb. Then they head toward Pluto, figuring that they will hit the Sun-tap station at Neptune on their way home. They soon overtake the half-ruined Plutonian ship, which hits Magellan with an energy bolt that nearly cripples the ship, but then Burl obliterates the alien completely with an atomic blast.

Arriving at Pluto, an Earth-sized world, the Earthmen discover the last Plutonian city at the north pole with two dumbbell ships hovering over it. They put Magellan into a low equatorial orbit to avoid being spotted while they finish repairing the ship.

Burl and two companions go down to the surface to explore, working their way north and landing their small rocketship several times to examine a dead Plutonian city. Finally they come to within a mile of the planet’s last stronghold. They infiltrate the place, set out a small atomic bomb with its timer set for four hours, and try to leave. Discovered and chased by Plutonians, Burl is trapped and knocked out.

He regains consciousness in a transparent enclosure on the surface of Triton, just outside the main temple of the Plutonians’ lunar religion. He finds the controls and frees himself, then he joins a ragtag band of Neptunians while Magellan lures the two dumbbell ships out into space where the crew destroys them both. Inside the temple Burl finds the inner sanctum lined with glass cases containing aliens, including one of his companions, in suspended animation, waiting to be sacrificed. Burl battles the priests and smashes the cases in a desperate fight. As each alien regains consciousness it joins the fight and soon there are no more Plutonians.

With all of the Plutonians dead, the danger to the solar system is past. Burl sees then the people of other planets and of other stars coming together in peace and mutual understanding.>>
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New Horizons Halfway from Pluto to Next Flyby Target

Postby bystander » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:10 pm

New Horizons Halfway from Pluto to Next Flyby Target
NASA | JHU-APL | SwRI | New Horizons | 2017 Apr 03

A KBO among the Stars: In preparation for the New Horizons flyby of 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019, the spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took a series of 10-second exposures of the background star field near the location of its target Kuiper Belt object (KBO). This composite image is made from 45 of these 10-second exposures taken on Jan. 28, 2017. The yellow diamond marks the predicted location of MU69 on approach, but the KBO itself was too far from the spacecraft (544 million miles, or 877 million kilometers) even for LORRI’s telescopic “eye” to detect. New Horizons expects to start seeing MU69 with LORRI in September of 2018 – and the team will use these newly acquired images of the background field to help prepare for that search on approach. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

How time and our spacecraft fly – especially when you’re making history at 32,000 miles (51,500 kilometers) per hour.

Continuing on its path through the outer regions of the solar system, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has now traveled half the distance from Pluto – its storied first target – to 2014 MU69, the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) it will fly past on Jan. 1, 2019. The spacecraft reached that milestone at midnight (UTC) on April 3 – or 8 p.m. ET on April 2 – when it was 486.19 million miles (782.45 million kilometers) beyond Pluto and the same distance from MU69.

"It's fantastic to have completed half the journey to our next flyby; that flyby will set the record for the most distant world ever explored in the history of civilization,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Later this week – at 21:24 UTC (or 5:24 p.m. ET) on April 7 – New Horizons will also reach the halfway point in time between closest approaches to Pluto, which occurred at 7:48 a.m. ET on July 14, 2015, and MU69, predicted for 2 a.m. ET on New Year's Day 2019. The nearly five-day difference between the halfway markers of distance and time is due to the gravitational tug of the sun. The spacecraft is actually getting slightly slower as it pulls away from the sun's gravity, so the spacecraft crosses the midpoint in distance a bit before it passes the midpoint in time. ...


Where is New Horizons?
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Re: Where New Horizons is

Postby BDanielMayfield » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:49 am

51,500 km per hr is 14.3 km per second. Fast, but slowing a little since it's coasting up-hill, out of the Sun's gravity well.
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Nap Time for New Horizons

Postby bystander » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:34 pm

Nap Time for New Horizons: NASA Spacecraft Enters Hibernation
NASA | JHU-APL | SwRI | New Horizons | 2017 Apr 10

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has eased into a long summer’s nap, entering a hibernation phase on April 7 that will last until early September. ...

Overhead_nh[1].jpg
Before today, New Horizons had been “awake” for almost two and a half years, since Dec. 6, 2014, when the team began final preparations for Pluto approach and encounter operations. The 852 days since the end of its last hibernation period is the longest -- by far -- New Horizons has remained in active operations since it was launched in January 2006.

But that’s because New Horizons was in the throes of its prime mission: conducting a six-month flyby of the Pluto system that culminated with close approach on July 14, 2015; that was followed by 16 months transmitting the data from that flight back to Earth. The spacecraft then began an extended mission in the Kuiper Belt, making distant observations of several Kuiper Belt objects -- setting up for a close flyby on Jan. 1, 2019, of one particular object known as 2014 MU69 -- and sampling the space environment in the outer reaches of the solar system. ...

This hibernation period will last 157 days -- ending on Sept. 11 -- but mission activity won’t necessarily stop. The science and mission operations teams will be developing detailed command loads for the MU69 encounter, shaping the science observations for much of nine-day flyby. Their plans currently accommodate two potential flyby altitudes; the team will narrow its choice to the final altitude as it learns more about the properties and orbit of MU69, which was discovered less than three years ago. ...

New Horizons pioneered routine cruise-flight hibernation for NASA. Not only has hibernation reduced wear and tear on the spacecraft’s electronics, it also lowered operations costs and freed up NASA Deep Space Network tracking and communication resources for other missions.
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Brightness of Universe Measured

Postby bystander » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:24 pm

Scientist Measures Brightness of Universe with New Horizons
Rochester Institute of Technology | 2017 Apr 11

Planetary mission offers up-close view of Cosmic Optical Background

Images taken by NASA’s New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto, and now the Kuiper Belt, have given scientists an unexpected tool for measuring the brightness of all the galaxies in the universe ...

In the study ... Michael Zemcov used archival data from the instrument onboard New Horizons—the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI—to measure visible light from other galaxies. The light shining beyond the Milky Way is known as the cosmic optical background. Zemcov’s findings give an upper limit to the amount of light in the cosmic optical background. ...

Light from the cosmic optical background can reveal the number and location of stars, how galaxies work and give insights into the peculiar nature of exotic physical processes, such as light that may be produced when dark matter decays. ...

Measurement of the Cosmic Optical Background using the
Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on New Horizons
- Michael Zemcov et al
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