Hosted by Cstar1|Galaxies & More!
We keep our star talk down to earth! Beginning stargazers, professional astronomers, armchair astronauts and the cosmologically curious are all invited to join us. Galaxies Astronomy Club was founded in 1994.
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That clock is ticking down awfully fast, as the gravitational steering window from the precise fly-by trajectory is getting narrower and narrower with each passing minute. I don't know how much fuel is left on the spacecraft, but I'd doubt it has more than a few hundred feet per second of delta-V to tweak its final trajectory after it has gone past Pluto, which might not be enough to reach a second target.
While before fly-by, tweaking the corridor it passes through going by Pluto by only a couple of feet per second can make a difference of several degrees in any direction desired for the post-flyby path towards interstellar space to take a look at something else interesting.
Of course most people are clueless as to just how vast and empty the outer solar system is, even passing through a "dense cloud" of Kupier belt objects. The separation between them is still enormous, and getting close enough to a second one to get useful data requires some rather precise cosmic billiards.
Meanwhile, the sci-fi movie effects folk depict clouds of floating rock and ice that the heroes have to violently maneuver to avoid colliding with. I tend to either cringe at or laugh at inappropriate moments when watching those shows when they get the science so totally wrong, especially when it is used as a device to move the plot along several times in only 90 minutes.
If you get any good pictures, I hope you'll share!
For some reason, I was under the impression it had plenty of fuel.
I think the article said only a few hundred feet per second remaining delta-v fuel.
Found it: "They have discovered 52 faint objects, but none that New Horizons can get to. The closest-found object, 2011 HZ102, would require New Horizons to change its speed by 210 meters per second. It has only enough fuel to achieve 130 meters per second."
130 meters per second is 5,118 inches per second velocity change. This is 426.5 feet per second, or 1,535,430 feet per hour, which is 290.8 miles per hour. While that seems fast if you're driving a dragster, for a spacecraft, that is a very small velocity change, not much more than a space shuttle de-orbit burn velocity change.
Out of more than 36,000 mph or so, this is a vector that is less than 1% from the primary trajectory.
It also looks like they are not going to do a small burn prior to the Pluto fly-by to get a gravitational assist to get more total delta-V out of the fuel that is left to target another Kupier Belt object.
At least they got a lot of Hubble time to find more objects, not sure if they actually have any candidates picked out for a close fly-by.
Either they were right on top of each other in an occultation, or the haze / seeing was too poor to see both Venus and Jupiter.
Just cranked up Stellarium to see what's really going on and when.
Closest conjunction was the night of June 30th. But Jupiter is magnitude -1.36, while Venus is -4.15, nearly 3 orders of magnitude brighter, so I suspect it's the haze that made Venus visible like a streetlight in fog, while Jupiter just vanished in the haze and light pollution from town off to the northwest.
New Horizons decided to put on a little 4th of July drama for the mission's fans. It's currently in safe mode, and it will likely be a day or two before it recovers and returns to science, but it remains on course for the July 14 flyby.Read more from Planetary
Looking forward to when they can actually make the change!
Do you know if they actually ever released the New Horizons stamp?
It doesn't look like they did.