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July 13, 2020 - Planet, Not a Planet

Planet, Not a Planet  The New Horizons spacecraft captured this enhanced color view of Pluto five years ago this week during its historic first-ever flyby of the dwarf planet. When the nine-year voyage began in January 2006, Pluto was still considered a planet (it was “demoted” to a dwarf planet eight months later). The classification drama didn’t diminish the anticipation of the first up-close views of this distant world. This image, which combines blue, red, and infrared data, shows a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode. The image resolves details and colors on scales as small as 1.3 km (0.8 mi).

Image credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

Weekly Calendar

July 13 - 19, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 13

1995: STS-70 Discovery launched
2019: Russian Spektr RG X-ray Observatory launched

Moon phase Tuesday 14

Jupiter at opposition
Uranus 4° north of Moon

1965: Mariner 4 completes first successful flyby of Mars
1967: Surveyor 4 launched
2015: New Horizons makes first ever Pluto flyby

Moon phase Wednesday 15

Pluto at opposition

1943: Jocelyn Bell Burnell born
1975:
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (Apollo 18) launched, last Apollo mission
2004: Aura satellite launched
2009: STS-127 Endeavour launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-05M launched carrying ISS Expedition 32/33 crew

Moon phase Thursday 16

1969: Apollo 11 launched
1994: First fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter
2011: Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta
2018: Astronomers announce discovery of 12 new moons of Jupiter

Moon phase Friday 17

Venus 3° south of Moon

1850: John Adams Whipple takes first stellar photograph (Vega)
1970: Final HL-10 lifting body flight
1975: Apollo-Soyuz dock in orbit
1984: Soyuz T-12 launched, 100th human space flight

Moon phase Saturday 18

1921: John Glenn born
1966:
Gemini X launched
1980: India becomes seventh nation to launch its own satellite

Moon phase Sunday 19

Mercury 4° south of Moon

1846: Edward Pickering born
1967: Explorer 35 launched
1985: NASA selects Christa McAuliffe as first teacher to travel in space
2019: Chinese Tiangong 2 space station deorbited

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.