|Pluto's moons seen by NEW HORIZONS.|
Count down : 51 days , 12 hours and 46 minutes . The NEW HORIZON's mission is nearing the mysterious dwarf planet . It was way back in July 2013 that New Horizons first saw Pluto’s large moon Charon. Now the space probe is only 77 million miles from Pluto . It is for me an exciting time in my interest in astronomy way back as a "kid" when I saw images of the first Pioneer probes of Jupiter and Saturn , they were followed by Voyager's 1 and 2 . They are part of the grand tour of the outer solar system . These NASA probes began with the Moon , Mercury , Venus and Mars . *** 30 years later ( that's how long it took) we have learned a great deal about these worlds. In MANY ways I feel sad that Pluto is the last stop . Currently the Saturn -Cassini mission is orbiting Saturn , a good billion miles away. New Horizons’ most sensitive camera, the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), acquired the images of Kerberos and Styx shown here from April 25-May 1. Each observation consists of five 10-second exposures that have been added together to make the image in the left panel. Images were extensively processed to reduce the bright glare of Pluto and Charon and largely remove the dense field of background stars (center and right panels). This reveals the faint satellites, whose positions and orbits – along with those of brighter moons Nix and Hydra – are given in the right panel. Kerberos and Styx were discovered in
2011 and 2012, respectively, by New Horizons team members using the Hubble Space Telescope. Styx, circling Pluto every 20 days between the orbits of Charon and Nix, is likely just four to 13 miles (approximately seven to 21 kilometers) in diameter, and Kerberos, orbiting between Nix and Hydra with a 32-day period, is just six to 20 miles (approximately 10 to 30 kilometers) in diameter. Each is 20 to 30 times fainter than Nix and Hydra. The latest images taken by NASA’s New Horizons‘ Long Range Reconnaissance Orbiter (LORRI) instrument show intriguing dark and light patches on the surface of Pluto, including a bright region that could be a polar cap. These latest round of pictures come at a time when the spacecraft is fast approaching its flyby of the far-flung and frozen world.The images were taken over a single (1)> Pluto ‘day’, which equals 6.5 Earth days, between April 12 and 18, at thirteen separate times, as the spacecraft traveled from 69 million miles (111 million km) to 64 million miles (104 million km) in Pluto’s direction.Two movies were made out of the images, which were magnified three times—one showing Pluto and its large moon Charon rotating around their center of mass, known as a barycenter, as the system completed one full rotation, and the other keeping the center of Pluto fixed in the frame.From May 8-14, LORRI will conduct high resolution observations, taking eight high resolution images per visit two or three times a day.Imaging will be halted between May 15 and 27 to allow downlinking of all the data collected, which will then be made into another movie.Daily observations of Pluto will begin on May 28, with images getting better as the spacecraft approaches the planet.
|Pluto and Charon seen by|
New Horizons ( May 1st) .
Observations of the Dwarf Planet Ceres.
|close ever yet of Ceres , and the Bright Spots.|
This is not the Moon folks.
Well the MYSTERY deepens in regards to the dwarf planet Ceres . The BRIGHT spots are such a puzzle . Reports from NASA are inconclusive . (3)> UFO theorists say that we are looking at some ALIEN BASE on Ceres ?? Volcano's ..... we are not even close enough as the Dawn Mission probe stands at a mere pace of 4,700 miles from Ceres. The puzzling white spots on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres are definitely reflecting sunlight, scientists said, but the cause of the marks remains a mystery.The newest batch of images from the Dawn spacecraft, which began orbiting Ceres on March 6, was released May 15. The data gleaned from these images has increased Dawn scientists' confidence that the white spots are caused by reflected sunlight, and that idea can help them narrow down the possible candidates for the spots' contents. "Dawn scientists can now conclude that the intense brightness of these spots is due to the reflection of sunlight by highly reflective material on the surface — possibly ice," Christopher Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission, said in a statement from NASA.Hints of the white spots on Ceres were seen almost a decade ago in images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, said Marc Rayman, chief engineer for the Dawn mission. But prior to Dawn's approach of Ceres, scientists were able to say very little about what the white spots might be. As Dawn has provided increasingly better images of these regions, Dawn scientists have stated that the spots appear to be reflections of sunlight.These new photos show additional differentiation between the glowing spots, and actually make the case for ice somewhat stronger. Dawn entered orbit of Ceres back in March, but has been moving in closer since then. (2)> The new surface images were taken from an altitude of 4,500 miles (7,200 km) with a resolution of 2,250 feet (700 meters) per pixel. For reference, the crater containing the glowing objects is about 57 miles across.The only thing astronomers can say for sure at this point is that the glowing spots are some sort of reflective substance on the surface.The aliens should turn their lights off, they are destroying their ozone layer. I bet some left wing tree hugger would lecture them something like that on any first encounter. Theories have renaged from reflective ice patches or signs of ice volcanoes, or cryovolcanos, which form on icy moons or asteroids, erupting contaminated water which solidifies, instead of magma, to more far-fetched ones including it being an alien space station like the Star (4)> Wars Death Star. The "spots" have been a subject of speculation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently launched a website inviting members of the public to join in the debate over the nature of the bright spots. So I am going to give my opinion on them .
NOTES AND COMMENTS:
*** Disturbing thought of the year: an entire lifetime's dream, and over nine years' travel smashed! -- by an unforeseen opaque cloud layer (however multicolored!) covering Pluto's entire surface (as with Venus and Titan). But with these new images coming in, I AM starting to realize: there may be hope yet! If we DO see any surface features, well then that in itself would be a cause for celebration!( 1)>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. (2)> Yet the jumpy video shown above of Ceres spinning on its axis shows the same level of brightness when it comes out of the sun's shadow as when it is in full sunlight and again when it returns to shadow. That cannot be. Have the scientists measured the light coming from these spots at each "jump" in the picture? If it behaves as reflected light would, then it helps reinforce the theory (indeed, probably confirms it), but if as it appears there is no change in brightness, then it rather suggests that these spots are actually the source of the light. I'd have thought all this was obvious, but the article doesn't touch in it. Could someone suggest this as an approach to these dumb scientists and ask for the results? (3)> Ever since news of the lights spread, UFO hunters have speculated they could be light sources made by alien inhabitants, with the more bizarre theories including it signalling Ceres is actually a well-hidden alien space station. News of lights being more widespread has only feulled this with one speculator commenting on an online forum that "It could be that these are like the lights of cities on earth which are visible from space" and that Dawn may be about to discover something "historic". (4)> UFO Sighting Daily's Scott Waring said they were either electric lights or massive reflectors on a pair of massive doors leading to an underground alien space station. He believes the lights are beacons to guide alien space ships approaching the entrance to an underground station. Other conspiracy theorists believe it is simply a method used by aliens that were trying to establish contact with other civilizations.