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New views of three worlds: Ceres, Pluto, and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • April 16, 2015

New Horizons took its first color photo of Pluto and Charon, while Dawn obtained a 20-frame animation looking down on the north pole of a crescent Ceres.

Ceres Gets Real; Pluto Lurks

Paul Schenk • March 27, 2015

Although we are still along way from understanding this fascinating little body, Ceres is finally becoming a real planet with recognizable features! And that's kinda cool.

The Mapping of Pluto Begins Today

Mark Showalter • March 20, 2015

When New Horizons flies past Pluto in July, we will see a new, alien landscape in stark detail. At that point, we will have a lot to talk about. The only way we can talk about it is if those features, whatever they turn out to be, have names.

What to expect when you're expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons' Pluto pictures

Emily Lakdawalla • March 10, 2015

As New Horizons approaches Pluto, when will the images get good? In this explainer, I tell you what images will be coming down from Pluto, when. Mark your calendars!

Pluto Science, on the Surface

Alan Stern • February 27, 2015

New Horizons' Principal Investigator Alan Stern gives an update on the mission's progress toward Pluto.

New Horizons spots Nix and Hydra circling Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • February 18, 2015

A series of images just sent to Earth from New Horizons clearly shows Pluto's moons Nix and Hydra orbiting the Pluto-Charon binary.

New Horizons returns first images from mission's Pluto approach phase

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2015

Here they are, the first images of Pluto from the approach phase of the New Horizons mission. Science has begun; we're on the home stretch!

Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Bruce Betts • February 04, 2015

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

Year of the 'Dwarves': Ceres and Pluto Get Their Due

Paul Schenk • January 15, 2015

This year we achieve the first exploration of these curious but fascinating objects. Paul Schenk explains what we may learn about them.

With New Horizons Ready to Wake Up, Scientists Prepare for Pluto Encounter

Jason Davis • November 14, 2014

When New Horizons wakes up for the final time on Dec. 6, scientists will spend six weeks preparing for the start of the spacecraft's Pluto encounter.

Twinkling worlds in motion: New Horizons' first optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2014

What's that in the distance? A binary star? Those are two little round worlds dancing in circles, whirling around a point in space located between the two of them. It's Pluto and Charon, clearly separated by New Horizons' camera.

New Horizons to take new photos of Pluto and Charon, beginning optical navigation campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • July 18, 2014

Technically, Pluto science observations don't begin for New Horizons until 2015, but the spacecraft will take a series of photos of Pluto and Charon from July 20 to 27 as it begins the first of four optical navigation campaigns.

Will we find signs of tectonics on Pluto? And what would that mean?

Joseph O'Rourke • May 26, 2014

Joseph O’Rourke summarizes a recently submitted paper on tectonic activity on Pluto after the Charon-forming impact.

New Horizons: Updates From the April 2014 Science Team Meeting

Simon Porter • May 07, 2014

New Horizons team member Simon Porter reports on the state of the mission and Pluto system science from the recent science team meeting at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

When will we know which is bigger, Pluto or Eris?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 30, 2014

We don't currently know whether Pluto is the biggest thing in the Kuiper belt or not. When will New Horizons give us the answer?

This is the post where you can comment about the IAU planet definition

Emily Lakdawalla • April 30, 2014

An attempt to corral the discussion of the IAU planet definition in one place on planetary.org, so that we may be free to actually discuss Kuiper belt observations and scientific results on posts elsewhere on this site.

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Bruce Betts • April 18, 2014

Explore the worlds beyond Neptune including Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and comets in this video of class 10 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Postcards from Pluto

Amanda Zangari • March 12, 2014

Amanda Zangari shares what it's like to be a scientist on New Horizons, and explains some of the day-to-day workings of the mission behind the scenes.

2015 will be the Year of the Dwarf Planet, and you need to tell people about it!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 05, 2014

I am very excited about 2015, more so than I have been about any year since I started working at The Planetary Society. Dawn will enter orbit at Ceres, and New Horizons, which will fly past Pluto and Charon. But if we want this kind of exploration to continue, I'm challenging you, dear readers, to tell the world why such non-planetary worlds are compelling places to go exploring.

Predicting Pluto's moons and moondust

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2014

Why didn't we discover Pluto's moons until more than a decade after Hubble launched? Mark Showalter helps me answer this question.

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