Where New Horizons is

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Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target

Postby bystander » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:36 pm

Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target
NASA | JHUAPL | SETI | New Horizons | 2017 Nov 06

NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt is looking for your ideas on what to informally name its next flyby destination, a billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) past Pluto.

On New Year's Day 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly past a small, frozen world in the Kuiper Belt, at the outer edge of our solar system. The target Kuiper Belt object (KBO) currently goes by the official designation "(486958) 2014 MU69." NASA and the New Horizons team are asking the public for help in giving "MU69" a nickname to use for this exploration target. ...

The naming campaign is hosted by the SETI Institute of Mountain View, California, and led by Mark Showalter, an institute fellow and member of the New Horizons science team. The website includes names currently under consideration; site visitors can vote for their favorites or nominate names they think should be added to the ballot. "The campaign is open to everyone," Showalter said. "We are hoping that somebody out there proposes the perfect, inspiring name for MU69."

The campaign will close at 3 p.m. EST/noon PST on Dec. 1. NASA and the New Horizons team will review the top vote-getters and announce their selection in early January.

To submit your suggested names and to vote for your favorites, go to: http://frontierworlds.seti.org
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UCSC: Hydrocarbon Haze Keeps Pluto Colder Than Expected

Postby bystander » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:54 pm

Pluto's Hydrocarbon Haze Keeps Pluto Colder Than Expected
University of California, Santa Cruz | 2017 Nov 15

The gas composition of a planet's atmosphere generally determines how much heat gets trapped in the atmosphere. For the dwarf planet Pluto, however, the predicted temperature based on the composition of its atmosphere was much higher than actual measurements taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015.

A new study published November 16 in Nature proposes a novel cooling mechanism controlled by haze particles to account for Pluto's frigid atmosphere. ...

The cooling mechanism involves the absorption of heat by the haze particles, which then emit infrared radiation, cooling the atmosphere by radiating energy into space. The result is an atmospheric temperature of about 70 Kelvin (minus 203 degrees Celsius, or minus 333 degrees Fahrenheit), instead of the predicted 100 Kelvin (minus 173 Celsius, or minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit). ...

Extensive layers of atmospheric haze can be seen in images of Pluto taken by New Horizons. The haze results from chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere, where ultraviolet radiation from the sun ionizes nitrogen and methane, which react to form tiny hydrocarbon particles tens of nanometers in diameter. As these tiny particles sink down through the atmosphere, they stick together to form aggregates that grow larger as they descend, eventually settling onto the surface. ...

The researchers are interested in studying the effects of haze particles on the atmospheric energy balance of other planetary bodies, such as Neptune's moon Triton and Saturn's moon Titan. Their findings may also be relevant to investigations of exoplanets with hazy atmospheres. ...

Haze heats Pluto’s atmosphere yet explains its cold temperature - Xi Zhang, Darrell F. Strobel, Hiroshi Imanaka
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BDanielMayfield
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Re: Where New Horizons is

Postby BDanielMayfield » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:57 pm

The haze results from chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere, where ultraviolet radiation from the sun ionizes nitrogen and methane, which react to form tiny hydrocarbon particles tens of nanometers in diameter. As these tiny particles sink down through the atmosphere, they stick together to form aggregates that grow larger as they descend, eventually settling onto the surface. ...

In other words, it snows frozen smog on Pluto.
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Does New Horizons' Next Target Have a Moon?

Postby bystander » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:13 pm

Does New Horizons' Next Target Have a Moon?
NASA | JHU-APL | SwRI | New Horizons | 2017 Dec 12

m_mu69_occultation-5-01[1].jpg

Scientists were already excited to learn this summer that New Horizons' next flyby target – a Kuiper Belt object a billion miles past Pluto – might be either peanut-shaped or even two objects orbiting one another. Now new data hints that 2014 MU69 might have company: a small moon.

That's the latest theory coming from NASA's New Horizons team, as it continues to analyze telescope data on the target of a New Year's Day 2019 flyby. "We really won't know what MU69 looks like until we fly past it, or even gain a full understanding of it until after the encounter," said New Horizons science team member Marc Buie, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, who offered an update on the analysis of MU69 Monday at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans. "But even from afar, the more we examine it, the more interesting and amazing this little world becomes."

The data that led to these hints at MU69's nature were gathered over six weeks in June and July, when the team made three attempts to place telescopes in the narrow shadow of MU69 as it passed in front of a star. The most valuable recon came on July 17, when five telescopes deployed by the New Horizons team in Argentina were in the right place at the right time to catch this fleeting shadow — an event known as an occultation – and capture important data on MU69's size, shape and orbit. That data raised the possibility that MU69 might be two like-sized objects, or what's known as a binary. ...
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Spend Next New Year's Eve with New Horizons

Postby bystander » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:49 pm

Spend Next New Year's Eve with New Horizons
NASA | JHU-APL | SwRI | New Horizons | 2018 Jan 04

The New Year's celebration to usher in 2019 will include an event like no other – more than four billion miles from Earth.

In just under a year – shortly after midnight Eastern Time on Jan. 1, 2019 – NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will buzz by the most primitive and most distant object ever explored. New Horizons' encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto, will offer the first close-up up look at such a pristine building block of the solar system – and will be performed in a region of deep space that was practically unknown just a generation ago. ...

New Horizons will fly about three times closer to MU69 than it did to Pluto in July 2015, allowing the spacecraft’s cameras to provide a more detailed look at the object’s surface. Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, pointed out that New Horizons’ vantage point from about 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) from MU69 will allow it spot details about the size of a basketball court. ...
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New Horizons Captures Images in the Kuiper Belt

Postby bystander » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:18 pm

New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt
JHU-APL | NASA | SwRI | New Horizons | 2018 Feb 08

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recently turned its telescopic camera toward a field of stars, snapped an image – and made history.

The routine calibration frame of the "Wishing Well" galactic open star cluster, made by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on Dec. 5, was taken when New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers, or 40.9 astronomical units) from Earth – making it, for a time, the farthest image ever made from Earth.

New Horizons was even farther from home than NASA's Voyager 1 when it captured the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth. That picture was part of a composite of 60 images looking back at the solar system, on Feb. 14, 1990, when Voyager was 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers, or about 40.5 astronomical units [AU]) from Earth. Voyager 1's cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years.

LORRI broke its own record just two hours later with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 – further demonstrating how nothing stands still when you're covering more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) of space each day. ...
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Re: Where New Horizons is

Postby neufer » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:19 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15810_Arawn wrote:
<<15810 Arawn, provisional designation 1994 JR1, is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) from the inner regions of the Kuiper belt, approximately 133 kilometres in diameter. It belongs to the plutinos, the largest class of resonant TNOs. It was named after Arawn, the ruler of the Celtic underworld, and discovered on 12 May 1994, by astronomers Michael Irwin and Anna Żytkow with the 2.5-metre Isaac Newton Telescope at La Palma Observatory in the Canary Islands, Spain.

:arrow: Arawn is unique in that it has been observed at a much closer distance than most Kuiper belt objects, by the New Horizons spacecraft, which imaged it a distance of 111 million km (0.74 AU) in April 2016; this and its other observations have allowed its [5.47 hour] rotation period to be determined.

Arawn is moving in a relatively eccentric orbit entirely beyond the orbit of Neptune. With a semi-major axis of 39.4 AU, it orbits the Sun once every 247 years and 6 months. Its orbit has perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) of 34.7 AU, an aphelion (farthest distance from the Sun) of 44.1 AU, an eccentricity of 0.12 and an inclination of 4° with respect to the ecliptic. It is a plutino, being trapped in a 2:3 mean motion resonance with Neptune, similarly to dwarf planet Pluto, the largest known plutino.

In 2012, Arawn was hypothesized to be in a quasi-satellite loop around Pluto, as part of a recurring pattern, becoming a Plutonian quasi-satellite every 2 Myr and remaining in that phase for nearly 350,000 years. Measurements made by the New Horizons probe in 2015 made it possible to calculate the motion of Arawn much more accurately. These calculations confirm the general dynamics described in the hypotheses. However, it is not agreed upon among astronomers whether Arawn should be classified as a quasi-satellite of Pluto based on this motion, since its orbit is primarily controlled by Neptune with only occasional smaller perturbations caused by Pluto.>>
Art Neuendorffer


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