Pluto News, The Kuipers and Beyond
September 29, 2016
Shedding light on Pluto's glaciers
Paris, France (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
What is the origin of the large heart-shaped nitrogen glacier revealed in 2015 on Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft? Two researchers from the Laboratoire de meteorologie dynamique show that Pluto's peculiar insolation and atmosphere favor nitrogen condensation near the equator, in the lower altitude regions, leading to an accumulation of ice at the bottom of Sputnik Planum, a vast topographic basin. Through their simulations, they also explain the surface distribution and atmospheric abundance ... read more

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Pluto's Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness
The southernmost part of Pluto that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft could "see" during closest approach in July 2015 contains a range of fascinating geological features, and offers clues into what mi ... more
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Hunt For Ninth Planet Reveals New Extremely Distant Solar System Objects
In the race to discover a proposed ninth planet in our solar system, Carnegie's Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of Northern Arizona University have observed several never-before-seen objects at ... more
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Pluto Flyby - A Year Later
About a year ago the New horizons spacecraft, funded by NASA and built by the Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins University, completed its 9 0.5-year flight from Earth to the now dwarf planet, Plu ... more
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Scientists attempt to explain Neptune atmosphere's wobble
Astronomers have been monitoring the oscillating brightness of Neptune's atmosphere for the last 40 years. Using the data, a new study in the journal Nature Communications attempts to explain the planet's unique atmospheric wobbles. ... more
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New Distant Dwarf Planet Beyond Neptune
An international team of astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in the disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune. The new object is roughly 700 kilometers in size and has one of the l ... more
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Researchers discover distant dwarf planet beyond Neptune
A new dwarf planet has been discovered orbiting among the icy ring of debris beyond Neptune. The object was named 2015 RR245 by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. ... more
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New Horizons Receives Mission Extension to the Kuiper Belt
Following its historic first-ever flyby of Pluto, NASA's New Horizons mission has received the green light to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. The spacecraft's ... more
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Alex Parker Discovers Moon Over Makemake in the Kuiper Belt
A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered an elusive, dark moon orbiting Makemake, one of the "big four" dwarf planets populating the Kuiper Belt region at the edge of our solar system. ... more
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Hubble locates new dark spot on Neptune
There's a new dark spot on Neptune, the farthest planet from the sun. ... more
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Pluto's Subsurface Ocean Likely Exists Today
Ongoing geological activity on Pluto seen by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft could be caused by the partial freezing of a subsurface ocean that likely still exists today, a new paper in Geophysical R ... more
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Case Bolstered for a Present-Day Subsurface Ocean on Pluto
When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft buzzed by Pluto last year, it revealed tantalizing clues that the dwarf planet might have - or had at one time - a liquid ocean sloshing around under its icy crus ... more
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New evidence suggests Pluto likely features subsurface ocean
Previous studies have revealed the possibility of a subsurface ocean on Pluto - if not currently, then at least at some point during its planetary history. ... more
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Extreme trans-Neptunian objects lead the way to Planet Nine
In the race towards the discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system, scientists from around the world strive to calculate its orbit using the tracks left by the small bodies that move well beyon ... more
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The Jagged Shores of Pluto's Highlands
This enhanced color view from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto's great ice plains, where at lower right the plains border rugged, dark highlands informall ... more
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Secrets Revealed from Pluto's "Twilight Zone"
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this stunning image of Pluto only a few minutes after closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image was obtained at a high phase angle - that is, with the Sun on t ... more
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Purdue team finds convection could produce Pluto's polygons
Data reported by NASA's New Horizons New Horizons mission to the Pluto system shows unusual terrain in this region, which features a large deposit of nitrogen ice with a pattern of polygons that are ... more
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Pluto's Heart: Like a Cosmic 'Lava Lamp'
Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto's icy surface is being constantly renewed by a process called convection that replaces older surface ices with fresher material. Combining com ... more
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Theft behind Planet 9 in our solar system
Through a computer-simulated study, astronomers at Lund University in Sweden show that it is highly likely that the so-called Planet 9 is an exoplanet. This would make it the first exoplanet to be d ... more
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Study suggests Planet 9 is stolen exoplanet
New research suggests the mysterious and controversial "Planet 9" isn't an original member of our solar system. According to a new computer simulation developed by astronomers at Lund University in Sweden, the ninth planet is an exoplanet - stolen by the sun from its original host star. ... more
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New Horizons' Best Close-Up of Pluto's Surface
This is the most detailed view of Pluto's terrain you'll see for a very long time. This mosaic strip - extending across the hemisphere that faced the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto on ... more
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Close encounters of a tidal kind could lead to cracks on icy moons
A new model developed by University of Rochester researchers could offer a new explanation as to how cracks on icy moons, such as Pluto's Charon, formed. Until now, it was thought that the cracks we ... more
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First Stellar Occultations Shed Additional Light on Pluto's Atmosphere
Scientists on NASA's New Horizons team say the spacecraft succeeded in observing the first occultations of Pluto's atmosphere by ultraviolet stars, an important goal of the mission's Pluto encounter ... more
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World May Now 'Face a New Kind of a Space Race'
NASA's New Horizon team has officially submitted an extended-mission proposal for its spacecraft, after it had finished its primary mission on Pluto. In an interview with Radio Sputnik, David Mimoun ... more
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New Horizons' First Science on a Post-Pluto Object
Warming up for a possible extended mission as it speeds through deep space, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has now twice observed 1994 JR1, a 90-mile (145-kilometer) wide Kuiper Belt object (KBO) or ... more
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