Two Weeks to Pluto: New Horizons and New Perspectives (Part 1)

A timeline detailing New Horizons long journey to Pluto. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

The “Month of Pluto” is now upon us, as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft—launched atop an Atlas V 551 booster from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., way back in January 2006—enters the final two […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 2)

An artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its closest approach to Pluto and Charon on 14 July. This spacecraft is the only successful outcome in a long line of unrealized missions to Pluto. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

When a Kansan farmboy-turned-astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 1)

An artist’s depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Three weeks now remain before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft—launched in January 2006—sweeps past the dwarf world Pluto, its large binary companion Charon, and at least four tiny moons, reaching the […]

Hubble Reveals Fascinating and Chaotic Properties of Pluto's Moons

Using a set of archival data that were taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. astronomers were able to conduct the most comprehensive and detailed study to date of Pluto’s four smaller moons, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. This artist’s illustration shows the scale and comparative brightness of these small satellites, as discovered by […]

New Horizons Mission Returns First Images of Pluto's Smallest Known Moons Kerberos and Styx

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has just returned the first long-range images of Kerberos and Styx, the two smallest moons of Pluto. Each animation consists of five 10-second frames which were taken with the onboard LORRI camera between April 25 and May 1At left is the initial set of raw images, while at the […]

Getting Closer! New Horizons Sees Two of Pluto's Smaller Moons for First Time

Long-exposure images taken by New Horizons between Jan. 27 and Feb. 8, 2015, showing the two tiny moons Hydra (inside yellow diamond) and Nix (inside orange diamond). Image Credit: Image credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons spacecraft, on course for a historic encounter with Pluto this summer, […]

Do Pluto and Charon Share the Same Atmosphere?

Artist’s conception of Pluto and Charon. Image Credit: ESO

Atmospheres are, of course, a common feature of planets and even some moons. Most of the planets in our Solar System and a few moons have their own unique atmospheres, but now there may be evidence for something new: a shared atmosphere between a […]