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Emily Lakdawalla’s Pluto Preview

Pluto in color from New Horizons on July 3, 2015

Air Date: 07/07/2015
Run Time: 28:50

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  • Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist, The Planetary Society

Topics: New Horizons, Rosetta and Philae, Pluto, comets, Charon, mission status, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Planetary Radio, Bill Nye

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Two visits with the Planetary Society Senior Editor this week, as Emily first provides an update on the Rosetta comet mission and then returns with an extended look ahead at the New Horizons Pluto encounter next week. We also hear from Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Bruce Betts shares a new Random Space Fact as we explore what’s up in the night sky.

Pluto and Charon in color: LORRI + MVIC, June 25 & 27, 2015


Pluto and Charon in color: LORRI + MVIC, June 25 & 27, 2015
Pluto shows two remarkably different sides in these color images of the planet and its largest moon Charon taken by New Horizons on June 25 and June 27. The images were made from black-and-white images combined with lower-resolution color data. The left image shows the side of Pluto that will be seen at highest resolution when New Horizons makes its close approach on July 14. The hemisphere is dominated by a very dark region that extends along the equator. The right image is of the side that faces Charon; the most dramatic feature on this side of Pluto is a row of dark spots arranged along the equator. (The equator appears near the bottom of the images of both Pluto and Charon, as New Horizons' view is mostly of their northern hemispheres.)

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are a 200-point astronomy account and a fabulous Planetary Radio t-shirt!

This week's question:

What was the last year in which Pluto was closer to the sun than Neptune?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, July 14th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Of the five moons of Pluto known before New Horizons, which two moons have a mythological family relationship?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

Who said (approximately), “Provide ships or sails adapted to the heavenly breezes and there will be some who will brave even that void.”


Johannes Kepler wrote in a letter to Galileo,“Provide ships or sails adapted to the heavenly breezes and there will be some who will brave even that void.”


No trivia contest spoilers please!

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