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Fifteen Incredible Photos Of The Moon

It's easy to forget that the universe isn't a smattering of tiny white lights in the sky, but actually a crazy place full of exploding stars, black holes and probably, aliens. As technology brings us closer to the predictions in science fiction classics, exploration (and eventually colonization) of the moon is becoming a reality. The moon has been getting some coverage in the media recently, and we're here to remind you that it's actually more than a sliver in the sky; the moon is the closest astronomical body to Earth and it's really beautiful. Here are fifteen photos and bits of information to remind you how cool the moon is. 

15 amazing photos of the moon
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Extra Extra Read All About It - NASA Boss Thinks Pluto IS A Planet

Though downgraded to dwarf planet status, Pluto has been on the comeback trail of late. Many issues arose with the reclassification in 2006, including that only 424 of the 9000 members of the international organization in charge of making such decisions voted. In addition, immediately after the resolution, hundreds of planetary scientists petitioned against the changed classification. The problem began when the body changed the definition of what constitutes a planet, and due to Pluto lacking several of these features, it was demoted.

A recent mission to Pluto by NASA called New Horizons, recently gave us our closest and clearest look of Pluto and the surrounding planetary bodies in its area and orbit. 

NASA Administrator goes on record stating Pluto is a planet. 13 years to the day that Pluto was reclassified, scientists reexamine the evidence.
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Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye to stargazers in the early mornings during February.  The last time this happened was in 2005 so it's a rare sight to see. According to the video, if you miss the event this February, you may be able to see the same thing in the evening sky this August. 

Uh... is no one else worried about this happening?: 

pluto flyby space planet - 8536709888
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.