After years of traveling through interplanetary space, the New Horizons probe finally arrives at Pluto today and becomes the first man-made object to pass the dwarf planet. Discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, this distant world has long remained a mystery to astronomers. New Horizons is sure to provide answers to many of those questions while simultaneously asking many more.
The image above was taken on July 11th at a distance of four million kilometers but when the probe makes its closest approach, it’ll be snapping photos from only 12,500 km. Be sure to check the news media for the latest images over the next few days; the probe is due to transmit those from its closest approach on the 15th.
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
The New Horizons probe passes Pluto. It is the first space probe to visit Pluto and the second time a space probe has visited a dwarf planet. (Pluto: magnitude 14.1. Sagittarius, evening sky.)
The constellation Aquila (the Eagle) culminates at midnight tonight. (Naked eye, all night. See yesterday’s post for a map.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
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