Sunday, July 23, 2017

The team that took us to Pluto briefly spotted their next target at the edge of the Solar System

The team that took us to Pluto briefly spotted their next target at the edge of the Solar System:

This weekend, a team of scientists who sent the first spacecraft to Pluto caught a brief glimpse of their vehicle’s next destination: a tiny, primitive space rock at the edge of the Solar System. Members of the mission team trekked down to a remote part of Argentina and spotted the distant object with numerous telescopes as it passed in front of a background star, blocking out the star’s light. It was a momentary eclipse — known as an occultation — and though it lasted just seconds, the sighting will provide useful information about the shape and size of the object that the spacecraft will visit next year.

That spacecraft is New Horizons, which famously flew within 8,000 miles of Pluto in July 2015. The vehicle was never meant to stop at...

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