The space race and the digital age gave us opportunities for closer observation, but none so close as NASA's New Horizons probe. It passed less than 10,000 miles (17,000 kilometers) from Pluto's surface in July 2015. In December, it began sending back its best images of the dwarf planet's surface. As Alan Stern, the project's principal investigator, said: “The science we can do with these images is simply unbelievable." Check a few of them out in the above NOW video. … [Read more...] about Our Closest Look Ever at Pluto’s Weird, Beautiful Surface
The solar system
In the era of smart phones with GPS and Google Maps, you're probably already familiar with the system of geographic coordinates that's commonly used to describe locations on the Earth's spherical surface. That system is based on latitude, the distance north or south from the Earth's equator, and longitude, which is the distance east or west of the Prime Meridian, an imaginary line that runs north to south through Greenwich, England. The distances are measured in degrees — 90 degrees in each direction for latitude, and 180 in each direction for longitude — and minutes, seconds and fractions of a second. (For more on how that system works, check out these pages from the U.S. Geological Survey and the IBM Knowledge Center.) … [Read more...] about How Do We Find Things in the Blackness of Space?