Pluto

13 07 2015

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

NH_Approach_720

I was eight years old, not long away from turning nine, back in January 1986.  Space was in the news twice that month.  In about the middle of the month, Voyager 2 flew by Uranus.  Later that month, there was the Challenger shuttle disaster; that day, I happened to be home from school for an afternoon doctor’s appointment, so I got to watch the launch live, and I made it my business to watch because the teachers at my school were excited that a teacher (Christa McAuliffe) was part of the Challenger crew.  I happened to be watching CBS’s national live coverage of the launch, Dan Rather being the anchor, and I saw the whole thing from launch to explosion live.  Then replayed, over and over and over again.  It actually took me awhile to realize that it didn’t end well.  Maybe I just didn’t want to believe that it did.

I was 12 years old in August 1989 when Voyager 2 flew by Neptune.  I watched as much of Neptune All Night as I could, but I just couldn’t make it all night.  I’d have to wait for the dawn to find out that Neptune had ring arcs and (at the time) a dark spot indicative of a massive storm.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, because it’s going to be another positive accomplishment in space, and also in a way, the end of an era.  Though this time around, it’s a bit different, because of the internet and NASA providing us new pics and videos and information and discoveries on a daily basis ever since New Horizons got close enough to Pluto and Charon.  The truth of the matter is that this was also happening back with Voyager 2 getting close to Uranus and Neptune, but we just didn’t have any way of getting plugged in to NASA’s daily output.

Another St. Louisan is looking forward to tomorrow, I’m sure.

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14 responses

13 07 2015
Stogie

Great post! I’m excited by the Pluto fly-by too. I’m older than you are, so I remember every space achievement since Russia launched Sputnik in 1957. The first moon landing was the most exciting. I watched it live on television.

13 07 2015
David In TN

I was in grade school when John Glenn orbited Earth three times in 1962. The teacher suspended class and we listened to the coverage on the radio. After an orbit Glenn would be asked if he wanted to come down. He would say “Go, go.”

What nerve that man has, I thought. The country stopped that day during Glenn’s flight.

John Glenn is still alive, by the way.

14 07 2015
Stogie

I was in high school when Glenn did that. It was really exciting. The teacher of each class would give us an update on his progress.

14 07 2015
John from Australia

I was in grade 1 in Brisbane, Australia, when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. We all watched it on a black and white TV at school but the kids who lived nearby were allowed to walk home to watch it there. Thank you, America, for all the feats you have achieved. Can’t wait for the Pluto images.

14 07 2015
14 07 2015
countenance

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/display.cfm?News_ID=49503&linkId=15514645

We’ll probably get more pics in the next day or two from the closest point of the flyby. Of course it’ll take years to process all the data and science.

14 07 2015
countenance

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/14/422811142/pluto-mission-gets-a-poetic-tribute

Compare the best pic that Hubble ever gave us to the latest from NH.

14 07 2015
countenance

14 07 2015
SoCal Patriot

In honor of our country’s latest spacefaring achievement:

14 07 2015
countenance

At this rate, we probably won’t have many such achievements in our near future. Hell, we probably won’t be able to launch the next major science mission to another planet unless the lead scientist is a transgendered Muslim illegal alien.

14 07 2015
countenance

BTW, and as luck would have it, Pluto is currently, at least with respect to the background stars, close to the teapot of Sagittarius. Since Pluto has a 250 year long orbit around the sun, it actually doesn’t shift very quickly with respect to background constellations. And that constellation’s stars this time of year reach their highest points in the sky between midnight and 1 AM, give or take a little depending on your longitude offset from your time zone’s prime meridian. In fact, Pluto’s 2015 opposition was on July 6. If you have a big enough telescope to resolve a magnitude 14.1 dot, you can see Pluto, tonight! You’ll need at least a 10 inch S-C, perfectly clear and stable skies, (hard to come by this time of year), and perfectly dark skies (harder to come by in general). Once you have all that, you’ll see…a dot. Just, a dot.

14 07 2015
countenance

Waiting for the first clickbait article on a clickbait kook left website about no diversity.

14 07 2015
countenance

Just to show you what kind of egomaniac we have as President.

Even if I was inclined to do this Iran deal, which I’m not, I wouldn’t announce it and then spike the football on Pluto day.

Also crowding out what should be the only news story in the world is the Pentagon getting ready to accept transgenders. That also has Obama’s fingerprints all over it.

3 01 2019
And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ | Countenance Blog

[…] has already been three and a half years since New Horizons visited Pluto, but it’s not done […]

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