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Latest Charon Stories

2006-01-15 15:00:15

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA's first space probe to Pluto, set to lift off on Tuesday, will use radioactive plutonium pellets to power much of its expected nine-year journey to the far reaches of the solar system. The U.S. space agency, which is seeing protests against the plutonium load, will use the largest rocket in the U.S. fleet as part of a plan that calls for bouncing the small probe, about the size of a grand piano, off Jupiter's massive gravity...

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2006-01-12 14:35:00

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cliff Friedman's name may go far in Dallas real estate circles, but that doesn't come close to the 3 billion-mile trip it will begin in a few weeks. Friedman's name is one of about 435,000 names placed on a compact disc that will be in the New Horizons spacecraft when it launches from Cape Canaveral this week on a mission to Pluto and the outer edges of the solar system. "My wife thinks it should be put out a little bit further," said Friedman, 48, a Dallas real estate...

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2006-01-12 14:35:00

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- It will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, zooming past the moon in nine hours and reaching Jupiter in just over a year at a speed nearly 100 times that of a jetliner. Its target is Pluto - the solar system's last unexplored planet, 3 billion miles from Earth. And the New Horizons spacecraft, set for liftoff on Tuesday, could reach it within nine years. Pluto, a tiny, icy misfit of a planet - some say it's not a planet at all - neither resembles the rocky...

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2006-01-05 10:25:00

Stellar occultation allows VLT to determine Charon's size and to put upper limit on its atmosphere ESO -- Observing a very rare occultation of a star by Pluto's satellite Charon from three different sites, including Paranal, home of the VLT, astronomers were able to determine with great accuracy the radius and density of the satellite to the farthest planet. The density, 1.71 that of water, is indicative of an icy body with about slightly more than half of rocks. The observations also put...

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2006-01-03 10:20:00

Cambridge, MA -- Mercury is boiling. Mars is freezing. The Earth is just right. When it comes to the temperatures of the planets, it makes sense that they should get colder the farther away they are from the Sun. But then there is Pluto. It has been suspected that this remote world might be even colder than it should be. Smithsonian scientists now have shown this to be true. Scientists continue to discuss whether Pluto is a planet or should be considered a refugee from the Kuiper belt....

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2005-12-20 08:10:00

The New Horizons spacecraft, scheduled for launch in mid-January, will investigate the far-off planet Pluto and its icy moons. This will be the first spacecraft to study the Pluto system, as well as the mysterious outer region of our solar system known as the Kuiper Belt. Astrobiology Magazine -- The New Horizons mission is currently preparing for a mid-January launch to Pluto. Pluto is one of the most mysterious objects in our solar system. Ten thousand times fainter than the eye can see,...

2005-12-16 17:20:00

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A small spacecraft bound for Pluto was being prepared for transfer to the launch pad on Friday in preparation for blastoff next month, NASA officials said. New Horizons is the centerpiece of a $650 million mission to explore the last of the solar system's original nine planets. Scientists recently have discovered hundreds of Pluto-like objects orbiting more than 50 times farther away from the sun than Earth. NASA is giving New Horizons one of...

2005-10-31 15:55:35

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pluto, that cosmic oddball at the far reaches of our solar system, may have three moons instead of one, scientists announced on Monday. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope glimpsed the two new satellites back in May, and were intrigued when the pair of possible moons appeared to move around Pluto over three days in what looked like a nearly circular orbit. If confirmed by the International Astronomical Union, they will get...

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2005-10-31 13:10:00

NASA -- Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to view the ninth planet in our solar system, astronomers discovered Pluto may have not one, but three moons. If confirmed, the discovery of the two new moons could offer insights into the nature and evolution of the Pluto system; Kuiper Belt Objects with satellite systems; and the early Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is a vast region of icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune's orbit. "If, as our new Hubble images indicate, Pluto has not one, but two or...

2005-10-28 13:05:00

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- A Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket being prepared to launch NASA's first probe to Pluto was slightly damaged when Hurricane Wilma cut a swath through Florida but should still be able to launch as planned, officials said on Friday. The 200-foot (61-meter) tall rocket was standing vertically inside its assembly hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station when Wilma blasted through on Monday, bringing wind gusts up to 76 mph (122 kph) to the spaceport on...


Latest Charon Reference Libraries

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2004-10-19 04:45:41

Planet Charon -- Charon is the only known satellite of Pluto. Charon was discovered by astronomer James Christy in 1978 using photographic plates which showed a bulge moving around Pluto. Christy named it after the Greek mythological figure Charon but pronounced it differently. The "ch" at the beginning of the moon's name is soft so it sounds like "Sharon," after the astronomer's wife Charlene, nicknamed Char, which both have soft ch sounds. The mythological figure's name is...

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2004-10-19 04:45:41

Planet Pluto -- Pluto is the ninth and smallest planet of our solar system. It was discovered by the astronomer Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona on February 18, 1930 (although the body was first photographed on March 19, 1915). Tombaugh was searching for a "Planet X" to explain the orbit of Neptune; further analysis, with seven decades more data about Neptune's position, has resolved the perceived anomaly without need for an additional gravitational pull on Neptune....

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Word of the Day
call-note
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'
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