Category Archives: Astronomy

Video: Discovering the new moons of Pluto

The SETI Institute has just posted this video in their lecture series:  Discovery of the New Moons of Pluto – Mark Showalter (SETI Talks) – YouTube

Dr. Showalter recently discovered the fourth and fifth moons of Pluto. His recent discoveries of two small moons orbiting Pluto raise interesting new questions about how the dwarf planet formed. We now know that a total of four outer moons circle around a central “double-planet” comprising Pluto and its large, nearby moon Charon.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will arrive at Pluto in July 2015, and the new discoveries come just in time for the science planners to target closeup views of the tiny bodies during the flyby. However, the discoveries also come as a mixed blessing–small moons often raise clouds of dust, prompting concerns about a possible hazard to the spacecraft when it flies through the system at more then 10 km per second.

Video: Radar shows asteroid 2012 DA14 tumbling

Below is a radar view of asteroid 2021 DA14 as it receded from the earth after its flyby on Feb.15th.

Radar observations of asteroid 2012 DA14 generated from data obtained by NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar on Feb. 15-16, 2013. During the observations, the space rock’s distance increased from 74,000 to 195,000 miles (120,000 to 314,000 km) from Earth.

The movie is comprised of 73 radar “images” looped nine times.
Resolution is 4 meters per pixel.
Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech

Update: More videos of the flyby at Out-of-control spaceship? Nope: It’s asteroid 2012 DA14, seen on radar – Cosmic Log