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Vocapedia > Space > Pluto

 

 

 

A view of Pluto’s

rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains

captured by Nasa’s New Horizon’s spacecraft.

 

Photograph: JHUAPL/SwRI/Rex Shutterstock

 

2006: a space oddity – the great Pluto debate

O

Sunday 1 May 2016        09.00 BST

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/01/
2006-space-oddity-pluto-debate-row

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast and Light to Pluto        NYT        11 July 2015

 

 

 

 

Fast and Light to Pluto | Out There | The New York Times        11 July 2015

 

On July 14, 2015,

the New Horizons spacecraft will zip

past Pluto and its five known moons.

 

Nobody really knows what it will find.

 

Produced by:

Dennis Overbye, Jason Drakeford and Jonathan Corum

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1LUCKNu

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video

 

YouTube > The New York Times

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR9QewcOdZs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nasa's three billion-mile mission to Pluto

must wait another day for blast-off

· High winds delay start of nine-year mission

· New Horizons probe to reveal last planet's secrets

 

James Randerson Science correspondent

The Guardian        p. 9        Wednesday January 18, 2006

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/jan/18/spaceexploration.starsgalaxiesandplanets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pluto

 

a world three billion miles away

with towering mountains of ice,

vast smooth plains

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/us/
the-long-strange-trip-to-pluto-and-how-nasa-nearly-missed-it.html

 

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/

http://www.theguardian.com/science/pluto

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/31/
675722234/way-beyond-pluto-an-icy-world-is-ready-for-its-close-up

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/19/
science/space/seeking-plutos-frigid-heart-nytvr.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/01/
2006-space-oddity-pluto-debate-row

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/dec/05/
pluto-new-horizons-sharpest-ever-images-space

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/oct/15/
pluto-as-we-know-it-now-nasa-report-unwraps-enigma-of-dwarf-planet

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/09/
447129015/why-is-the-sky-blue-on-pluto-that-is

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/oct/06/
pluto-charon-photos-nasa-new-horizons-data

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/sep/17/
nasa-new-photos-pluto

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/11/science/space/
no-surf-but-maybe-dunes-in-nasas-latest-pluto-photos.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/24/
425949286/dark-pluto-bares-its-heart

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/us/
the-long-strange-trip-to-pluto-and-how-nasa-nearly-missed-it.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/17/423872012/
nasa-new-pluto-images-point-to-geologically-active-world

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/17/
pluto-pictures-high-resolution-image-delights-intrigues-scientists

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2015/jul/16/
pluto-and-other-historic-first-pictures-of-planets

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/16/science/space/
a-window-into-pluto-and-hopes-of-opening-other-doors.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/15/science/space/
new-horizons-pluto-flyby-photos.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/16/science/
pluto-flyby-photos-reveal-mountains.html

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/15/
pluto-mission-nasa-reveals-first-high-resolution-images-of-planets-surface

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/15/
pluto-planet-status-debate-dwarf

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/15/
pluto-planet-size-nasa-new-horizons

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2015/jul/15/
pluto-and-its-moons-detailed-new-images-from-new-horizons-released-in-pictures

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/science/space/
nasa-new-horizons-spacecraft-reaches-pluto.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/14/science/space/pluto-flyby.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/14/422840586/
nasa-zooms-in-on-pluto-for-closest-views-yet

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/13/
nasa-probes-early-pluto-data-shows-dwarf-planet-larger-than-anticipated

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/13/421840110/
planet-or-not-icy-pluto-to-finally-get-its-day-in-the-sun

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR9QewcOdZs - NYT, July 11, 2015

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/04/
nasa-probe-new-horizons-pluto-charon

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/04/411946929/
plutos-moons-are-tumbling-in-absolute-chaos-nasa-says

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2014/oct/05/
galaxys-guardians-make-the-case-upgrade-pluto-back-to-planet-size

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/
opinion/04byers.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/15/
comment-astronomy-pluto-hubble-eighty

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-06-21-pluto-
moons_x.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-01-17-
new-horizons_x.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/15/science/space/15pluto.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/
science/space/march-30-1930-pluto-is-discovered.html

 

 

 

 

Pluto

 

an oddball icy dwarf

unlike

the rocky planets

of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars

and the gaseous planets

of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune        USA

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/
2006-01-17-new-horizons_x.htm

 

 

 

 

Pluto's surface

and its ethereal atmosphere

 

 

 

 

Pluto's Moons / Pluto and its moons

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2015/jul/15/
pluto-and-its-moons-detailed-new-images-
from-new-horizons-released-in-pictures

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/04/
411946929/plutos-moons-are-tumbling-in-absolute-chaos-nasa-says

 

 

 

Kuiper Belt > "planetary embryos"        USA

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-01-17-
new-horizons_x.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even More Things

in Heaven and Earth

 

February 3, 2011

The New York Times

By MICHAEL BYERS

 

Ann Arbor, Mich.

ASTRONOMERS announced last month that, contrary to previous assumptions, the orbiting body Eris might be smaller than Pluto after all. Since it was the discovery in 2005 of Eris, an object seemingly larger than what had been considered our smallest planet, that precipitated the downgrading of Pluto from full planet to “dwarf,” some think it may be time to revisit Pluto’s status.

Most of us can’t help rooting for Pluto. We liked the idea of a ninth planet, hanging out there like a period at the end of the gorgeous sentence of the solar system. It gave us a sense of completeness. And besides, we were used to it. Pluto’s demotion caused such an outcry because it altered something we thought we knew to be true about our world.

Of course, science doesn’t, and shouldn’t, care what we learned in first grade. If Pluto’s odyssey teaches us anything, it’s that whenever we think we’ve discovered a measure of certainty about the universe, it’s often fleeting, and more often pure dumb luck. The 1930 discovery of Pluto — by Clyde Tombaugh, who coincidentally was born 105 years ago today — is a prime example, a testament not only to Tombaugh’s remarkable perseverance, but also to how a stupendously unlikely run of circumstances can lead to scientific glory.

The search for a ninth planet was led by the Harvard-trained Percival Lowell, a Boston Brahmin who was widely known for announcing the existence of a Martian civilization. Lowell’s hypotheses about a “Planet X” were based on optimistic interpretations of inconclusive data. Many had observed that the orbit of Uranus seemed to be perturbed by a gravitational influence beyond the orbit of Neptune. If the source of that pull could be determined, he speculated, a fellow could point a telescope at that source and find an undiscovered world.

So Lowell, in the Arizona observatory he had built, set out to do just that. His method was not without precedent. But in 1916, after more than a decade of exquisitely delicate mathematics and erratic searching, Lowell died, his reputation as a gifted crackpot confirmed.

Thirteen years later, Clyde Tombaugh was hired by V. M. Slipher, the director of the Lowell Observatory, to resume the search.

At 22, Tombaugh had been making his own telescopes for years in a root cellar on his father’s Kansas farm (where the air was cool and still enough to allow for the correction of microscopic flaws in the mirrors he polished by hand). The resulting telescopes were of such high quality that Tombaugh could draw the bands of weather on Jupiter, 400 million miles away. Ambitious but too poor to afford college, Tombaugh had written at random to Slipher, seeking career advice. Slipher took a look at the drawings that Tombaugh had included, and invited him to Arizona.

For months, Tombaugh used a device called a blink comparator to pore over scores of photographic plates, hunting for one moving pinprick amid millions of stars. When he finally found the moving speck in February 1930, it was very nearly where Lowell’s mathematics had predicted it would be. Headlines proclaimed Lowell’s predictions confirmed.

But there was something strange about the object. It soon became apparent that it was much too small to have exerted any effect on Uranus’s orbit. Astronomers then assumed it had to be a moon, with a larger planet nearby. But despite more searching, no larger object came to light.

They eventually had to face the fact that the discovery of a new object so near Lowell’s predicted location was nothing more than a confounding coincidence. Tombaugh’s object, soon christened Pluto, wasn’t Planet X. Instead of an example of good old American vision and know-how, the discovery was the incredibly fluky result of a baseless dream.

Decades later, this was proved doubly true. Data from the 1989 Voyager 2 flyby showed that the mass of Neptune had been inaccurately measured by about 0.5 percent all along, and that, in fact, the orbit of Uranus had never been inexplicably disturbed to begin with. Percival Lowell had been hunting a ghost. And Clyde Tombaugh, against all odds, had found one.

All of which is to say, science is imperfect. It is a human enterprise, subject to passions and whims, accidents and luck. Astronomers have since discovered dozens of other objects in our solar system approaching Pluto’s size, amounting to a whole separate class of orbiting bodies. And just this week, researchers announced that they had identified 1,235 possible planets in other star systems.

We can mourn the demotion of our favorite planet. But the best way to honor Lowell and Tombaugh is to celebrate the fact that Pluto — while never quite the world it was predicted to be — is part of a universe more complex, varied and surprising than even its discoverers could have imagined.

Of course, for those of us who grew up chanting “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us New Pizza,” nine planets will always seem more fitting than eight. New facts are unsettling. But with the right mindset, the new glories can more than make up for the loss of the old.


Michael Byers

is the author of the novel “Percival’s Planet.”

Even More Things in Heaven and Earth,
NYT,
3.2.2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/opinion/04byers.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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