How I missed the Pluto flyby – The Greatest Astronomy Story of the Year

For anyone who actually reads this blog, which based on my stats could be anywhere from 1 person (myself) to 300 people a day, you’ll have noticed I’ve been missing my daily posts for the last week.  It was my glorious vacation week, the first one I’ve had in three years, and though I tried and tried, there was only one week that worked out perfectly for scheduling, and it was the one week I didn’t want to miss.

In all my planning and preparations, the only week that worked was the exact same week as the historic flyby of Pluto by New Horizons, something I have been excited to see since watching the launch of the craft in 2006.  I still found a way to see the pictures while I was gone, there was no way I was going to miss the first photos of such an alien world as they came out.  I just didn’t blog about it.

The week off was amazing and I did a fair bit of astrophotography while I was gone, but those stories and pictures will be posted soon, as an aside from my normal posting.  So in the spirit of my triumphant return to space blogging, here are all the amazing bits of Pluto science we have received from New Horizons so far.

Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Final Approach to Pluto Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Portrait from the flyby Credit: NASA / New Horizons
The response, though I don’t get the patriotism. Should be celebrating humanity. Credit: NASA
The Heart of Pluto Credit: NASA / New Horizons
False colour of Pluto and Charon showing diversity of surface features. Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Pluto’s Moon Hydra in Pixels but not a dot. Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Methane on Pluto. Credit: NASA / New Horzons
Best of Charon. Credit: NASA / New Horizons

 

Ice Mountains on Pluto. Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Pluto through the years. Credit: NASA / Hubble / New Horizons
Charon up close with its mountain in a crater Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Frozen Carbon Monoxide found on Pluto’s heart Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Tiny Moon Nix in Pixels, but still better than a distant dot Credit: NASA / New Horizons
False Colour Nix and close up of Hydra. Credit: NASA / New Horizons
Icy mountains on the newly discovered Tombaugh regio. Credit: NASA / New Horizons

This is the science we have waited 10 years of preparation and 9 years of flight time for.  Finally we reap the rewards and complete a journey of discovery that began 50 years ago – to explore and image the planetary bodies of our solar system.

 

 

 

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