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Pluto on the Eve of Exploration by New Horizons: Small moons, dust, surfaces, interiors

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2013 • 5

My roundup from notes on the day's presentations on dust in the Pluto system and the surfaces and interiors of Pluto and Charon.

New names for Pluto's little moons Kerberos and Styx; and a new moon for Neptune

Emily Lakdawalla • July 15, 2013 • 5

Pluto's moons, formerly known as "P4" and "P5," are now named Kerberos and Styx; I thought I'd help place them into context with a little help from Cassini. Also, Neptune now has a 14th known moon.

New Horizons: Encounter Planning Accelerates

Alan Stern • May 17, 2013 • 4

Back in 2005 and 2006, when Pluto’s second and third moons (Nix and Hydra) were discovered, searches by astronomers for still more moons didn’t reveal any. So the accidental discovery of Pluto’s fourth moon by the Hubble Space Telescope in mid-2011 raised the possibility that the hazards in the Pluto system might be greater than previously anticipated.

Pluto's seasons and what New Horizons may find when it passes by

Emily Lakdawalla • May 02, 2013 • 5

New Horizons might see a Pluto with a northern polar cap, a southern polar cap, or both caps, according to work by Leslie Young.

2011 HM102: A new companion for Neptune

Alex Parker • April 30, 2013 • 2

This month my latest paper made it to print in the Astronomical Journal. It's a short piece that describes a serendipitous discovery that my collaborators and I made while searching for a distant Kuiper Belt Object for the New Horizons spacecraft to visit after its 2015 Pluto flyby.

When will New Horizons have better views of Pluto than Hubble does?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 18, 2013 • 8

Last week, I posted an explainer on why Hubble's images of galaxies show so much more detail than its images of Pluto. Then I set you all a homework problem: when will New Horizons be able to see Pluto better than Hubble does? Here's the answer.

Why can Hubble get detailed views of distant galaxies but not of Pluto?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2013 • 22

How come Hubble's pictures of galaxies billions of light years away are so beautifully detailed, yet the pictures of Pluto, which is so much closer, are just little blobs? I get asked this question, or variations of it, a lot. Here's an explainer.

New Contest: Name the Moons of Pluto!

Emily Lakdawalla • February 11, 2013 • 15

The discoverers of Pluto's fourth and fifth moons are inviting the public to vote on (and write in candidates for) their formal names. Voting closes in two weeks.

DPS 2012: Double occultation by Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • October 26, 2012 • 5

A few talks at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting discussed observations of a double occultation -- both Pluto and Charon passing in front of the same star.

Citizen "Ice Hunters" help find a Neptune Trojan target for New Horizons

Alex Parker • October 09, 2012 • 1

2011 HM102 is an L5 Neptune Trojan, trailing Neptune by approximately 60 degrees. This object was discovered in the search for a New Horizons post-Pluto encounter object in the Kuiper Belt.

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