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Monday, July 13, 2015

New Horizons Update: T-Minus 1 Day and Counting!

A composite image of Pluto and Charon that was taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft from a distance of 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) on July 12, 2015.
NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

The excitement is building! Google posted a new Google doodle to commemorate tomorrow's historic flyby, while the New Horizons flight team itself released the cool composite photo above. And the image at the very bottom of this entry shows where the spacecraft is as it rapidly closes in on the dwarf planet...which should no longer be considered a dwarf planet considering that NASA just revealed that Pluto is much larger than Eris (the icy world that caused Pluto to be demoted back in August of 2006) and every other currently-known object out in the Kuiper Belt. Will you change your tune now, Mike Brown (the astronomer who discovered Eris in 2005) and Neil deGrasse Tyson (the fervent celebrity advocate of dwarf planets who thinks that Pluto should retain this lowly title)?

A screenshot of New Horizons' 'Google doodle.'

New Horizons' current position near the Pluto system as of 6:32 PM PDT on July 13, 2015.
NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

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