Monday, July 20, 2015


New Horizons left Earth on January 19, 2006 on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Its closest approach to Pluto occurred last week on July 14, 2015, nine and a half years later. Can you imagine? A spacecraft needs to travel for nine and a half years to reach the beginnings of the outer edge of our own solar system. !!!!! 

You can check out New Horizons' Facebook page here to keep up to date with its further travels. 

Some Pluto facts:

Pluto was downgraded to "dwarf planet" in 2006. There are five known dwarf planets in our solar system - Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea. 

Pluto has five moons. Its largest moon, Charon, might itself qualify to be called a dwarf planet because Pluto and Charon are comparable in size and orbit each other, rather than just being a satellite orbiting a planet. 

The first detailed image of Pluto's surface returned to Earth after New Horizon's flyby shows icy mountains up to 11,000 feet high - comparable to the height of the Rockies - casting shadows across a relatively smooth plain. The lack of craters indicates that this part of the surface is quite young, no more than 100 million years old.

Pluto and the Solar Systems
The New York Times/Science


Anonymous said...

do you know why the last 2 dwarf planets have Hawaiian names? Is it because they were discovered from Mauna Kea? V

Erick said...

I think Pluto should be a planet.

Nippon Nin said...

Amazing pic! Thanks for the information. poor Pluto...down graded...what? what did I do? I don't want to travel 9and half about jet lag and all my clothing are out of style by then, right?

Honolulu Aunty said...

Cool! Did you see Jupiter in the skies recently? Kay of Musings brought up a neat free app called Skyview that identifies constellations and planets in the sky. I get a bit dizzy though, holding my phone on the sky and looking up at it.

jalna said...

V, I was thinking the same thing . . . must be yah.

LOL, Erick, I think a lot of people think so too.

You too funny, Akemi!

Aunty, I saw Kay's post on that app, but never downloaded it. Recognizing stars and planets would be neat. Maybe I should check it out for my iPad.

Kay said...

I'm amazed that they're able to get such clear photos of Pluto because there's not much light out there right? The technology is incredible considering they launched the New Horizons in 2006.

jalna said...

This whole process is amazing to me, Kay.