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NASA's New Horizons: A "Heart" from Pluto as Flyby Begins

7-8-15_pluto_color_new_nasa-jhuapl-swri.jpg

In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto - the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken on July 7, when the spacecraft was just under 8 million kilometers from Pluto, and is the first to be received since the July 4 anomaly that sent the spacecraft into safe mode.
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New Horizons Map of Pluto: The Whale and the Donut

nh-pluto-map.jpg

This map of Pluto, made from images taken by the LORRI instrument aboard New Horizons, shows a wide array of bright and dark markings of varying sizes and shapes. Perhaps most intriguing is the fact that all of the darkest material on the surface lies along Plutos equator. The colour version was created from lower-resolution colour data from the spacecrafts Ralph instrument. Credits: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

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Latest Images of Pluto from New Horizons

nh-pluto-color-7-6-2015_0.png

These are the most recent high-resolution views of Pluto sent by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, including one showing the four mysterious dark spots on Pluto that have captured the imagination of the world. The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) obtained these three images between July 1 and 3 of 2015, prior to the July 4 anomaly that sent New Horizons into safe mode.
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Pluto is at opposition on 6th July 2015



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Ephemeris

Date       UT      R.A. (J2000) Decl.    Delta     r     El.    Ph.   Mag
2015 06 30 000000 19 00 47.6 -20 41 45  31.890  32.899  173.2   0.2  14.4
2015 07 01 000000 19 00 41.4 -20 42 00  31.889  32.900  174.1   0.2  14.4
2015 07 02 000000 19 00 35.1 -20 42 15  31.888  32.901  175.0   0.2  14.4
2015 07 03 000000 19 00 28.8 -20 42 30  31.887  32.901  175.9   0.1  14.3
2015 07 04 000000 19 00 22.5 -20 42 45  31.887  32.902  176.7   0.1  14.3
2015 07 05 000000 19 00 16.2 -20 43 01  31.887  32.903  177.4   0.1  14.3
2015 07 06 000000 19 00 09.8 -20 43 16  31.887  32.903  177.9   0.1  14.3
2015 07 07 000000 19 00 03.5 -20 43 31  31.888  32.904  178.0   0.1  14.3
2015 07 08 000000 18 59 57.2 -20 43 46  31.889  32.904  177.6   0.1  14.3
2015 07 09 000000 18 59 50.9 -20 44 02  31.890  32.905  177.0   0.1  14.3
2015 07 10 000000 18 59 44.6 -20 44 17  31.891  32.906  176.2   0.1  14.3
2015 07 11 000000 18 59 38.3 -20 44 33  31.893  32.906  175.3   0.1  14.4
2015 07 12 000000 18 59 32.0 -20 44 48  31.895  32.907  174.4   0.2  14.4
2015 07 13 000000 18 59 25.7 -20 45 04  31.897  32.907  173.5   0.2  14.4
2015 07 14 000000 18 59 19.4 -20 45 19  31.900  32.908  172.5   0.2  14.4
2015 07 15 000000 18 59 13.2 -20 45 35  31.903  32.909  171.6   0.3  14.4
2015 07 16 000000 18 59 07.0 -20 45 50  31.906  32.909  170.6   0.3  14.4
2015 07 17 000000 18 59 00.8 -20 46 06  31.909  32.910  169.7   0.3  14.4
2015 07 18 000000 18 58 54.6 -20 46 21  31.913  32.910  168.7   0.3  14.4
2015 07 19 000000 18 58 48.4 -20 46 37  31.917  32.911  167.7   0.4  14.4
2015 07 20 000000 18 58 42.3 -20 46 52  31.922  32.912  166.8   0.4  14.4
2015 07 21 000000 18 58 36.2 -20 47 08  31.926  32.912  165.8   0.4  14.4
2015 07 22 000000 18 58 30.2 -20 47 24  31.931  32.913  164.8   0.5  14.4
2015 07 23 000000 18 58 24.1 -20 47 39  31.936  32.914  163.9   0.5  14.4
2015 07 24 000000 18 58 18.2 -20 47 55  31.942  32.914  162.9   0.5  14.4
2015 07 25 000000 18 58 12.2 -20 48 10  31.948  32.915  161.9   0.5  14.4
2015 07 26 000000 18 58 06.3 -20 48 26  31.954  32.915  161.0   0.6  14.4
2015 07 27 000000 18 58 00.5 -20 48 42  31.960  32.916  160.0   0.6  14.4
2015 07 28 000000 18 57 54.7 -20 48 57  31.967  32.917  159.0   0.6  14.4
2015 07 29 000000 18 57 48.9 -20 49 13  31.973  32.917  158.0   0.7  14.4
2015 07 30 000000 18 57 43.2 -20 49 28  31.980  32.918  157.1   0.7  14.4
2015 07 31 000000 18 57 37.6 -20 49 43  31.988  32.918  156.1   0.7  14.4


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At about 48 million km from Pluto, the telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard the New Horizons spacecraft has taken a series of images from May 29 to June 2 that reveal the various faces of Pluto as it rotates through its 6.4 day period.
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Title: Astrometrical Observations of Pluto - Charon System with the Automated Telescopes of Pulkovo Observatory
Author: Alexander V. Devyatkin, Ekaterina A. Bashakova, Viacheslav Yu. Slesarenko

The space probe 'New Horizon' was launched on 19th of January 2006 in order to study Pluto and its moons. Spacecraft will fly by Pluto as close as 12500 km in the middle of July 2015 and will get the most detailed images of Pluto and its moon until this moment. At the same time, observation obtained by the ground-based telescopes may also be helpful for the research of such distant system. Thereby, the Laboratory of observational astrometry of Pulkovo Observatory of RAS made a decision to reprocess observations obtained during last decade. More than 350 positional observations of Pluto - Charon system were carried out with the mirror astrograph ZA-320M at Pulkovo and Maksutov telescope MTM-500M near Kislovodsk. These observations were processed by means of software system APEX-II developed in Pulkovo observatory and numerical simulation was performed to calculate the differences between positions of photocenter and barycenter of Pluto - Charon system.

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NASA's New Horizons Detects Surface Features, Possible Polar Cap on Pluto

For the first time, images from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft are revealing bright and dark regions on the surface of faraway Pluto - the primary target of the New Horizons close flyby in mid-July.
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Pluto's evaporating ice leaves it with a blank face

Pluto's got a blank face. It seems that the dwarf planet's nitrogen-rich ice evaporates faster than realised, disappointing those who hoped its pockmarks could keep a census of the outer solar system.
Planetary scientists had hoped that when the New Horizons spacecraft speeds past Pluto in July, its images of the scarred surface could help snoop on the neighbours: the more small craters Pluto has, the more small bodies must be in the Kuiper belt.

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New Horizons mission eyes Pluto

The New Horizons probe has returned new pictures of the dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. They are the first images since the Nasa mission formally began its countdown to a flyby of the distant world in July.
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