Pluto! Pluto! Pluto!

Astronomers and planetary scientists are all abuzz as the New Horizons spacecraft draws ever nearer to Pluto. Its closest encounter will be in just a few days on July 14, 2015, but it will spend months sending data back.

I gave a public talk on June 25 about Pluto at a Sigma Xi Science Cafe in Las Cruces. It’s not often that an astronomy talk becomes outdated in real time, but take a look at those “Latest Images” slides and then compare them to these (all credit to NASA, of course):

pluto_charon_color_final

mh-07-10-15_puto_image_annotated

New Horizons has been traveling since 2006 to bring us this view of an icy, distant world, and Pluto is just our cosmic backyard. Be sure to stay tuned in the coming week for the latest news and images. The best part of a mission like this is following along to see what never-before-known things are revealed each day. Space is full of surprises!

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