Things we learnt about Pluto in the last one week!

1
INCREDIBLE!

One word to describe what New Horizon has sent us so far! Let us look at a quick timeline of events.

Mission-PathtoPluto-MissionTimeline-TenYears_sm
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/The-Path-to-Pluto/Mission-Timeline.php

Ten years and three billion miles later, New Horizons has sent back something no one has ever seen before, a good picture of Pluto! The first high resolution images of Pluto shows young icy mountains of around 11000 ft with no evidence of craters. NASA has released the following images.

pluto

For years, the international astronomy community has been arguing if Pluto could be called a planet or dwarf planet. But New Horizon’s recent discovery has helped us understand, Pluto indeed belongs to a binary planet system – partnering with what was originally assumed to be its moon, Charon. Well, Hello there!

charon

Click here to watch an amazing wobbly dance of this binary system, around a common center of mass. Each full revolution takes 6.4 earth days. Pluto and Charon are tidally locked to each other, showing the same face to one another.  After the fabulous display of heart shaped surface, Pluto officially becomes the most romantic planet of the solar system (well, at least according to me!).

To give you a quick impression on how good these images are, check out what we knew about Pluto and Charon before.

plutobeforeafter

Click on the image below to watch the animation.

pluto-observations-through-the-years

So wonder what happens next? The mission will be continued and New Horizons will enter the Kupier belt! The simple of joy of exploring a whole new world. Thank you New Horizons. It was just a day, but well worth the wait for ten years.

 

Rohini Swaminathan
I am just another one in seven billion people on this planet, with a small significant difference though. I always ask myself "why not"! That question added with a little curiosity has led me to travel and explore lot of possibilities so far. With a Bachelor's in Geoinformatics and a Masters in Geomatics, I have made my life more towards knowing lot more about our gē!
  • Nice. Love the gif. Cant wait to see what new horizons finds out there. New planets to map.