APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

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APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:11 am

Image New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon

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.

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RedFishBlueFish
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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by RedFishBlueFish » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:58 am

Looking at this picture it is difficult for one *not* to imagine that this is actually an image of Luna and Terra from a different universe - one where Terra failed to hold on to her water.

To have this perspective makes worthwhile to me however many of my tax dollars were spent on this mission to the outermost planet.

Bother not pedants: Brontosaurus made it back, and so will Pluto the planet. The decisions which originally banned them show the tone-deafness of scientists when dealing with the public at large - well addressed, in the former instance, by Stephen J Gould in "Bully for Brontosaurus"

I wish he could have lived to see Brontosaurus rise again, and to have seen this image of another twin world.

Well done NASA. Well done also to a society which was willing to pay for such exploration, a society which one sees fading into history.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by rochelimit » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:47 am

look at Pluto, it's not a perfect circle, it almost looks lop-sided around the 7 o clock position. That's interesting!

I already in love with the heart-shaped feature on Pluto. More interesting than Uranus (lol)

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Pluto’s Darker Side...

Post by emc » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:05 pm

New Horizons picked up a radio signal at its closest approach point which has been since deciphered as: “BARK, BARK, BARK!”. This pompous transmission was immediately identified as a plutonian prank and has been interpreted as an interplanetary insult aimed at our beloved Walt Disney's legacy. Needless to say, family and employees at Disney are up in arms and have demanded retaliation. At worst case this incident could prompt a prolonged placatory plutonian planetary war the likes of which has never been perceived. A Disney employee was overheard... "Just you wait!"

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by owlice » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:35 pm

RedFishBlueFish wrote: Bother not pedants: Brontosaurus made it back, and so will Pluto the planet. The decisions which originally banned them show the tone-deafness of scientists when dealing with the public at large - well addressed, in the former instance, by Stephen J Gould in "Bully for Brontosaurus"
Tone-deafness? You think science should be decided by popular vote?

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by starsurfer » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:39 pm

I'm so happy and fortunate to be able to see the first proper detailed closeup image of Pluto! I'm greatly anticipating all (or at least most) of the images it will send back!

Watt A. Whirled

Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Watt A. Whirled » Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:39 pm

I dimly remember, at the age of 4, looking at black and white pictures on T.V. of the earth from close orbit. Wow! Fast forward 50 years - last night I spent an hour with my 4 year old son looking at the first 'close up' pictures of Pluto. Wow! I hope he gets to see the first close up pictures of an extrasolar planet when he grows up. Thanks NASA, thanks APOD!

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:10 pm

pluto.jpg
mars.jpg
It seems Mars has a new little brother. I will be fascinating to see what they have in common. And what they don't have based on the images and other data.
Central Light and Darp Patches.jpg
The central light and dark patches seem similar. I suppose all rocky-body planets have some ancestry.
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Make Mars not Wars

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Pianosorplanets » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:13 pm

Hello, I'm new to the APOD registry although by no means new to the site. I'm going by Pianosorplanets if anyone cares to address me. I've also left an introduction in the intro area (http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?p=245779#p245779).

I have a burning question about the New Horizon mission and have not found an answer. I may be missing something that is sitting in plain site (pun intended.) My vision isn't the greatest and I easy could look past something so forgive me if I'm being redundant if my question has already been discussed; if so, perhaps someone would be kind enough to inform me on which day's board I would find the answer to my question.

My question is: considering the cost of this expedition to Pluto, what harm would there have been in supplying enough fuel to decelerate New Horizons into orbit so that we could do some serious science whilst staying there a while? I understand why we had to do flyby in the Voyager series, we were but babes in the woods technologically, but I find it hard to believe that we are still of that ilk.

Anybody know why we chose "flyby" as opposed to "orbit insertion"?

Another question: the description today suggested that nearest acquisition of Pluto would be 9pm the 24th EST. As I understand UT1, the east coast of the U.S. is five hours negative of UT1 making acquisition occur at 8pm. I'd like to be lurking NASA at the correct hour. Is my timing off or is there an actual "boo boo" on the time frame?

I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better now that I've finally found a good reason to register. (As to my handle, FYI, piano work is how I make a living but astronomy has always been a passion for me.)

Last word: Isn't she beautiful?!!!!!

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Donnageddon » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:24 pm

Hi pianosorplanets, you need look no further than yesterday's topic. A discussion of the economics was had.

http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=34966

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by chuckster » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:53 pm

Pianosorplanets wrote:Hello, I'm new to the APOD registry although by no means new to the site. I'm going by Pianosorplanets if anyone cares to address me. I've also left an introduction in the intro area (http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?p=245779#p245779).

I have a burning question about the New Horizon mission and have not found an answer. I may be missing something that is sitting in plain site (pun intended.) My vision isn't the greatest and I easy could look past something so forgive me if I'm being redundant if my question has already been discussed; if so, perhaps someone would be kind enough to inform me on which day's board I would find the answer to my question.

My question is: considering the cost of this expedition to Pluto, what harm would there have been in supplying enough fuel to decelerate New Horizons into orbit so that we could do some serious science whilst staying there a while? I understand why we had to do flyby in the Voyager series, we were but babes in the woods technologically, but I find it hard to believe that we are still of that ilk.

Anybody know why we chose "flyby" as opposed to "orbit insertion"?

Another question: the description today suggested that nearest acquisition of Pluto would be 9pm the 24th EST. As I understand UT1, the east coast of the U.S. is five hours negative of UT1 making acquisition occur at 8pm. I'd like to be lurking NASA at the correct hour. Is my timing off or is there an actual "boo boo" on the time frame?

I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better now that I've finally found a good reason to register. (As to my handle, FYI, piano work is how I make a living but astronomy has always been a passion for me.)

Last word: Isn't she beautiful?!!!!!
I just happened to check in on this forum (I'm a relative newbie myself) and saw your question. I tried finding the "Pluto In A Minute" youtube video where your question about orbit insertion was answered, but couldn't quite find the right one. Basically, they say that if you accelerate to a certain speed, you need the same energy to decelerate, particularly if you have to decelerate to near zero, since Pluto's gravity is only .067 of Earth's. And even more particularly if you picked up a little speed with a Jovian gravity assist. As the perky woman that does the PIM videos states, "An Atlas V can't launch an Atlas V". Getting to Pluto before you retire from your planetary science career requires speed, and currently available propulsion techniques would require assembling a package in space, which would be very prohibitively expensive.

And yes, they're ALL beautiful.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Fun with Q's » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:00 am

Ron-Astro Pharmacist wrote:
The central light and dark patches seem similar. I suppose all rocky-body planets have some ancestry.
The left ventricle of the heart looks like a giant impact basin.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Joe Stieber » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:20 am

Pianosorplanets wrote:Another question: the description today suggested that nearest acquisition of Pluto would be 9pm the 24th EST. As I understand UT1, the east coast of the U.S. is five hours negative of UT1 making acquisition occur at 8pm. I'd like to be lurking NASA at the correct hour. Is my timing off or is there an actual "boo boo" on the time frame?
The APOD text says "about 1:00 am UT July 15, which corresponds to about 9:00 pm EDT on July 14." This is indeed correct since here on the east coast of the USA, we are currently on Eastern Daylight Time, which is UT-4, not EST (Eastern Standard Time), which is UT-5 in season.

Of course, the "1:00 am UT" in the APOD text is a bit non-standard as there is no "am" or "pm" in UT.

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Re: APOD: New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon (2015 Jul 14)

Post by Pianosorplanets » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:45 am

Duh!...

I forgot all about accounting for Daylight Time in my math. Now I feel dumb. But thanks for the correction.

And thanks for the point to the right discussion. I had assumed the issue must have been brought up somewhere near launch time rather than so close to actual arrival so hadn't even thought to look so nearby.

Thanks for being patient with a newbie. I'll catch up quick.