Saturday, July 18, 2015

More from Pluto & Last Night's Moon and Planets

The early returns from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto have been amazing.
Only a tiny percentage of the data has been returned so far (it will be many months before it's all in), but Pluto is being revealed to be a remarkable world. The images so far indicate a nearly total lack of impact craters, suggesting that Pluto is an active world. There currently is much speculation as to what forms that activity takes (geysers, ice volcanoes, other things), but there's no consensus of any kind yet.

More images are expected to be released on July 24th, so stay tuned for them.

There's a planetary show of another kind still going on out west in the evening skies. Venus and Jupiter are still relatively close together and tonight (Saturday, July 18th) the moon will be especially close to Venus.
Here's how the scene looked last night, with the thin crescent moon well below Venus and Jupiter. By tonight the moon will have moved close to Venus and should look very nice. If you've got clear skies be sure to go out and look for them tonight as it gets dark.
A closer look at last night's moon.

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