Monday, August 11, 2014

NASA Probe Sees Pluto and Its Moon Charon - Video

A NASA spacecraft hurtling toward a 2015 rendezvous with Pluto has captured an amazing video of the dwarf planet and its largest moon, Charon.

The New Horizons probe used its onboard telescope to record a video of Charon and Pluto locked in their orbital dance.

The movie is composed of 12 individual images taken from July 19 through July 24, almost exactly one year before the spacecraft's flyby of the distant dwarf planet, which is scheduled for July 14, 2015.

"The image sequence showing Charon revolving around Pluto set a record for close-range imaging of Pluto, they were taken from 10 times closer to the planet than the Earth is," New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. "But we'll smash that record again and again, starting in January, as approach operations begin."

"We are really excited to see our target and its biggest satellite in motion from our own perch, less than a year from the historic encounter ahead!" he added.

New Horizons was about 265 million miles (426 million kilometers) from Pluto when it took the 12 photos, researchers said.

New Horizons baseline spacecraft design. 

Image Credit: The Boeing Company

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