flyby

Pluto's flyby gets a stunning video to go with it.
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Remember a month ago when we saw Pluto up close? The photographer New Horizons kept going and sending back beautiful pictures to Earth, but one person wanted to see it in motion.

Vimeo user Bjorn Jonsson went through the pain-staking effort of stitching together many photos sent back to us and released by NASA to create this sunning video of the view as the spacecraft flew past the edge of our solar system.

As Jonsson details in the video description:

he time covered is 09:35 to 13:35 (closest approach occurred near 11:50). Pluto's atmosphere is included and should be fairly realistic from about 10 seconds into the animation and to the end. Earlier it is largely just guesswork that can be improved in the future once all data has been downlinked from the spacecraft. Light from Pluto's satellite Charon illuminates Pluto's night side but is exaggerated here, in reality it would be only barely visible or not visible at all. The field of view is 12.5 degrees.



Just check out this beautiful experience.



With something like that, who cares if it's labeled as a full planet or not?

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Via The Verge
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It took nine years and 3 billion miles, but at 7:49 a.m. EST the New Horizons spacecraft passed what was once the furthest planet in our solar system.

Traveling at a speed of 30,800 miles per hour, New Horizons zoomed by Pluto a scant 7,800 miles away. This is the closest we have ever got to Pluto and it will send back some of the best images of the maligned dwarf planet we have ever seen. Maybe this will convince those scientists to let it back into the club and give us the nine planets that we deserve.

But we've learned a lot so far. For instance, now we know how big the dang thing is.

This morning, NASA announced that Pluto is 2,370km (about 1,473 miles) in diameter, give or take 20m. That makes it ever so slightly bigger than Eris, a much darker and denser object that lives farther out in the Kuiper Belt. (Eris measures 2,336km in diameter.) Measurements of Pluto's size before today were estimates at best, their accuracy skewed by the dwarf planet's hazy atmosphere.



We've also learned that Pluto has a pretty big ice cap, filled with lots of nitrogen and frozen methane. (I could've told you the place was cold nine years ago.)

Since this mission happened billions of miles away and it takes four hours for the radio waves New Horizon sends us to be uploaded, we shouldn't expect to see any pictures filled with happy, waving aliens until tonight.

Also, by the way, the download speed on that information is 1 Kb/s. Dialup hell.



Here's a video explaining the delicacy and scale of this Pluto flyby:



As we got closer to the dwarf planet, however, all anyone could see was the image of Mickey Mouse's dog, carefully hidden within the terrain.