For the next few days I am going to break my own rule and post NASA images instead of my own.
The New Horizons spacecraft has almost reached its targeted fly through of the Pluto-Charon System and as this is the first flyby of the last of the classical planets (I know, I know…. Pluto is a dwarf planet now) it is worth posting some of the astonishing images as they come in. I don’t see anything else like this happening again in my lifetime.
Here are the first astonishing images, taken during the last week of approach:
This is the best we saw before New Horizons:
The Pluto-Charon System:
The Pluto-Charon System is on average 39 AU from the Sun but is currently only about 32 AU from Earth due to its eccentric orbit around the Sun, which takes 249.9 Earth years.
Pluto is 2,390 km in diameter with five moons and is currently +14.1 magnitude.
Charon is 1208 km in diameter and magnitude +17.3 at opposition. It orbits at a distance of 17536±4 km to the system barycenter, (19571±4 km to the center of Pluto) once every 6 days 9 hours, 17 minutes. (Wikipedia)
(c) Page Copyright Roger Powell 2015
(c) Images Courtesy NASA