As new Horizons spacecraft approaches Pluto moving toward its closest approach on July 14, 2015, the best image will get better and better. I will edit the folder as newer and better imagery is added. NASA page.
Image Credit: NASA/APL/Southwest Research Institute
See THIS PAGE and read how to do it. I know if Steven Colbert were on the air right now what he would propose.
Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015.
The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments will characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away.
Credits: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)
The imagery from Pluto is getting slightly better and now a hint of surface features can be seen in this imagery.
This series of New Horizons images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, was taken at 13 different times spanning 6.5 days, starting on April 12 and ending on April 18, 2015. During that time, the NASA spacecraft's distance from Pluto decreased from about 69 million miles (111 million kilometers) to 64 million miles (104 million kilometers).
The pictures were taken with the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI. Pluto and Charon rotate around a center-of-mass (also called the "barycenter") once every 6.4 Earth days, and these LORRI images capture one complete rotation of the system.
In the annotated version, a 3x-magnified view of Pluto is displayed in the inset to the lower right, highlighting the changing brightness across the disk of Pluto as it rotates. Because Pluto is tipped on its side (like Uranus), when observing Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft, one primarily sees one pole of Pluto, which appears to be brighter than the rest of the disk in all the images. Scientists suggest this brightening in Pluto's polar region might be caused by a "cap" of highly reflective snow on the surface. The "snow" in this case is likely to be frozen molecular nitrogen ice. New Horizons observations in July will determine definitively whether or not this hypothesis is correct.
In addition to the polar cap, these images reveal changing brightness patterns from place to place as Pluto rotates, presumably caused by large-scale dark and bright patches at different longitudes on Pluto's surface. In all of these images, a mathematical technique called "deconvolution" is used to improve the resolution of the raw LORRI images, restoring nearly the full resolution allowed by the camera's optics and detector.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
THIS LINK will take you to a page with images and tools for finding the current distance between the spacecraft and the Pluto system. Below is an image from today. The closest approach to Pluto will be on July 14.
Attachment shows to location of Pluto today. Though you need Hubble or a large terrestrial telescope and a camera using a long exposure to actually see it from Earth, you can find the part of the sky it is in.
Then today an even clearer image was received. Credits: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
"After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway.
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 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) from Pluto, and is the first to be received since the July 4 anomaly that sent the spacecraft into safe mode.
This view is centered roughly on the area that will be seen close-up during New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach. This side of Pluto is dominated by three broad regions of varying brightness. Most prominent are an elongated dark feature at the equator, informally known as “the whale,” and a large heart-shaped bright area measuring some 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) across on the right. Above those features is a polar region that is intermediate in brightness.
“The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today,” said Jeff Moore, Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team Leader of NASA’s Ames Research Center. “It will be incredible!” "
“Science is an ongoing process. It never ends. There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved, after which all the scientists can retire.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
As I write this, we are only a day away from closest approach to Pluto. You may be interested in THIS SITE which allows you to download an app which lets you ride along on this journey. Text from the page:
"Using Eyes on the Solar System and simulated data from the New Horizons flight team you can ride onboard the spacecraft using “Eyes on Pluto” on your Mac or PC.
The picture in picture view shows you where the spacecraft is looking and what its advanced instruments can see. You can use a “live” mode to see what New Horizons is doing right now, or preview the flyby of the Pluto System. The spacecraft will be busiest during the time of closest approach between July 13th and 15th 2015 where you will see the spacecraft turn from target to target as it flies past Pluto at over 30,000 miles per hour. Click launch to get started, or use the “tours and features” button from inside Eyes on the Solar System."
We really have one of the best images as of the arrival of New Horizons at Pluto today.
One of the final images taken before New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto on 14 July 2015. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
The spacecraft is still gathering as much data as it can and will not beam more back for a few more days. As it becomes available I'll add some of it to this thread. For much more information already published see the New Horizon site.
This graphic presents a view of Pluto and Charon as they would appear if placed slightly above Earth's surface and viewed from a great distance. Recent measurements obtained by New Horizons indicate that Pluto has a diameter of 2370 km, 18.5% that of Earth's, while Charon has a diameter of 1208 km, 9.5% that of Earth's.
NASA has published a gif animation showing the evolution of our resolution of Pluto, from a few pixels to a view showing mountains on it's surface. This animation combines various observations of Pluto over the course of several decades. The first frame is a digital zoom-in on Pluto as it appeared upon its discovery by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 (image courtesy Lowell Observatory Archives). The other images show various views of Pluto as seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope beginning in the 1990s and NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015. The final sequence zooms in to a close-up frame of Pluto released on July 15, 2015.
The mountains of Pluto
New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.
The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago -- mere youngsters relative to the 4.56-billion-year age of the solar system -- and may still be in the process of building, says Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team leader Jeff Moore of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.. That suggests the close-up region, which covers less than one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.
Moore and his colleagues base the youthful age estimate on the lack of craters in this scene. Like the rest of Pluto, this region would presumably have been pummeled by space debris for billions of years and would have once been heavily cratered -- unless recent activity had given the region a facelift, erasing those pockmarks.
“This is one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” says Moore.
Unlike the icy moons of giant planets, Pluto cannot be heated by gravitational interactions with a much larger planetary body. Some other process must be generating the mountainous landscape.
“This may cause us to rethink what powers geological activity on many other icy worlds,” says GGI deputy team leader John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
The mountains are probably composed of Pluto’s water-ice “bedrock.”
Although methane and nitrogen ice covers much of the surface of Pluto, these materials are not strong enough to build the mountains. Instead, a stiffer material, most likely water-ice, created the peaks. “At Pluto’s temperatures, water-ice behaves more like rock,” said deputy GGI lead Bill McKinnon of Washington University, St. Louis.
The close-up image was taken about 1.5 hours before New Horizons closest approach to Pluto, when the craft was 47,800 miles (77,000 kilometers) from the surface of the planet. The image easily resolves structures smaller than a mile across.
Remarkable new details of Pluto’s largest moon Charon are revealed in this image from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken late on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles (466,000 kilometers).
A swath of cliffs and troughs stretches about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from left to right, suggesting widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely a result of internal processes. At upper right, along the moon’s curving edge, is a canyon estimated to be 4 to 6 miles (7 to 9 kilometers) deep.
Mission scientists are surprised by the apparent lack of craters on Charon. South of the moon’s equator, at the bottom of this image, terrain is lit by the slanting rays of the sun, creating shadows that make it easier to distinguish topography. Even here, however, relatively few craters are visible, indicating a relatively young surface that has been reshaped by geologic activity.
In Charon’s north polar region, a dark marking prominent in New Horizons’ approach images is now seen to have a diffuse boundary, suggesting it is a thin deposit of dark material. Underlying it is a distinct, sharply bounded, angular feature; higher resolution images still to come are expected to shed more light on this enigmatic region.
The image has been compressed to reduce its file size for transmission to Earth. In high-contrast areas of the image, features as small as 3 miles (5 kilometers) across can be seen. Some lower-contrast detail is obscured by the compression of the image, which may make some areas appear smoother than they really are. The uncompressed version still resides in New Horizons’ computer memory and is scheduled to be transmitted at a later date.
The image has been combined with color information obtained by New Horizons’ Ralph instrument on July 13.
New Horizons discovers flowing ices in Pluto’s heart-shaped feature. In the northern region of Pluto’s Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain), swirl-shaped patterns of light and dark suggest that a surface layer of exotic ices has flowed around obstacles and into depressions, much like glaciers on Earth. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15. This global portrait of the atmosphere was captured when the spacecraft was about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Pluto and shows structures as small as 12 miles across. The image, delivered to Earth on July 23, is displayed with north at the top of the frame. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
That means I'll get to add atmospheric effects to Pluto on my Grand Tour Overlay.
Is there an ocean below Sputnik Planum on Pluto? The unusually smooth 1000-km wide golden expanse, visible in the featured image from New Horizons, appears segmented into convection cells. But how was this region created? One hypothesis now holds the answer to be a great impact that stirred up an underground ocean of salt water roughly 100-kilometers thick. The featured image of Sputnik Planum, part of the larger heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio, was taken last July and shows true details in exaggerated colors. Although the robotic New Horizons spacecraft is off on a new adventure, continued computer-modeling of this surprising surface feature on Pluto is likely to lead to more refined speculations about what lies beneath. apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap161122.html
All kmz content I share were created with Google Earth (PC-version). All of my nGEC forumthreads All about my avatar kml2xls
however topic title does not mention, here I add best ever picture of Pluto's "moon" -as it is half in size, I would rather say: Pluto's celestial body pair-: Charon. (It is enhanced version of the same image Hill has already shared at 16 Jul 2015.) btw, on the upper left also one can see "worst image of Pluto and Charon". (:
Charon: Moon of Pluto Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute, U.S. Naval Observatory
A darkened and mysterious north polar region known to some as Mordor Macula caps this premier high-resolution view. The portrait of Charon, Pluto's largest moon, was captured by New Horizons near the spacecraft's closest approach on July 14, 2015. The combined blue, red, and infrared data was processed to enhance colors and follow variations in Charon's surface properties with a resolution of about 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles). A stunning image of Charon's Pluto-facing hemisphere, it also features a clear view of an apparently moon-girdling belt of fractures and canyons that seems to separate smooth southern plains from varied northern terrain. Charon is 1,214 kilometers (754 miles) across. That's about 1/10th the size of planet Earth but a whopping 1/2 the diameter of Pluto itself, and makes it the largest satellite relative to its parent body in the Solar System. Still, the moon appears as a small bump at about the 1 o'clock position on Pluto's disk in the grainy, negative,telescopic picture inset at upper left. That view was used by James Christy and Robert Harrington at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff to discover Charon 40 years ago in June of 1978.
KitsuneFox: syzygy - posts I have made here do not receive much attention. I may do a detailed writeup of the now lost Edgemont Park in PA, one of the first electrified trolley parks in the world, but still debating. I'm missing 1 key bit of information.
Aug 17, 2021 10:38:20 GMT
syzygy: BRUTAL! Cars as if were matchboxes in a model town... Brilliant infos you share here in shoutbox - why not you post these?
Aug 16, 2021 17:36:00 GMT
KitsuneFox: In the early morning, before sunrise, of Augusts 11th, 12th, and 13th is reported to be the best viewing time for the Perseids meteor shower.
Aug 10, 2021 10:32:11 GMT
KitsuneFox: Davidson Seamount is the tallest known fully underwater mountain in the world, measuring 7,480 feet base to peak.
Aug 5, 2021 0:02:27 GMT
syzygy: ...and about other hills and humps... stone cold wisdom! ( :
Jul 28, 2021 14:13:17 GMT
KitsuneFox: Mount Wycheproof in Australia is the shortest recognized mountain on the world. It stands at 141 feet base to peak. A mineral named 'Wycheproofite' is mined near the location, and is the only known place it's found.
Jul 28, 2021 10:13:47 GMT
syzygy: Cool! Great extra info series about "all stars" highest mountains on Earth!
Jul 22, 2021 6:25:22 GMT
KitsuneFox: Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured from the center of the planet. The peak is over 6,800 feet further away than Mount Everest, and is the closest land on earth to outer space.
Jul 22, 2021 0:13:35 GMT
SpiderX22: Big news in the Aircraft in Flight database (in Transportation) -> HUGE changes. Thanks RaveyThirteen for your post -> will be changing ownership of the collection (hopefully for me lol) -> look forward to this!
Jul 20, 2021 21:02:26 GMT