Stephen Colbert and Neil deGrasse Tyson disagree about PLUTO’s planet status! @neiltyson @StephenAtHome @NASANewHorizons

Very funny video interview with Stephen Colbert and Neil deGrasse Tyson in response to the NASA New Horizons flyby of PLUTO! Seen here, with article!

Colbert and Tyson also had quite a humorous exchange about PLUTO on twitter.

Video of the @NASANewHorizons spacecraft arriving at PLUTO this morning!! #science

At approximately 7:49 a.m. on July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to be as close as it will get to Pluto, approximately 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface. This historic moment is part of NASA’s coverage of New Horizons’ nine year, three billion mile journey to the Pluto system to gather data about Pluto and its moons.

@NASANewHorizons will flyby Pluto tomorrow! Already sending amazing images of PLUTO!!

Who’s excited for the NASA spacecraft New Horizons Pluto flyby??? CauseScience is!!!!

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Picture of PLUTO from @NASANewHorizons spacecraft – get ready for flyby next Tuesday!! #science

The NASA spacecraft New Horizons has sent back some early pictures of PLUTO (Image Credit: New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), July 8, NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI), and will fly by PLUTO next Tuesday – July 14th!!

After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway.

In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto—the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken on July 7, when the spacecraft was just under 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) from Pluto, and is the first to be received since the July 4 anomaly that sent the spacecraft into safe mode.

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Plutos moons are like a “wobbly duck” #bizarre #coolscience

Summarized on NPR:

Pluto’s Moons Are ‘Tumbling In Absolute Chaos,’ NASA Says

JUNE 04, 2015 7:46 AM ET
Computer modeling illustrations of Pluto's moon Nix demonstrate that its orientation changes unpredictably as it orbits the "double planet" of Pluto and Charon.

Computer modeling illustrations of Pluto’s moon Nix demonstrate that its orientation changes unpredictably as it orbits the “double planet” of Pluto and Charon.

M. Showalter (SETI)/G. Bacon (STScI)/NASA/ESA

In the NFL, something that behaves like Pluto’s football-shaped moons might be called a wobbly duck. NASA simply calls them astonishing.

Instead of steadily rotating through their orbits, two of Pluto’s moons “wobble unpredictably,” the space agency says, citing new analysis of data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The two moons, Hydra and Nix, are the largest of the four moons that move around Pluto and Charon — the “double planet” that is the destination of next month’s visit by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.

New Horizons is expected to provide new details of Pluto, which has never been photographed in crisp detail. For now, scientists are going over the new Hubble analysis.

“Hubble has provided a new view of Pluto and its moons revealing a cosmic dance with a chaotic rhythm,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

The moons’ wobbling comes from the shifting gravitational field generated by Pluto and Charon, which together have been compared to a barbell, for the way they roll through space together.

“Their variable gravitational field sends the smaller moons tumbling erratically,” NASA says. “The effect is strengthened by the football-like, rather than spherical, shape of the moons.”

NASA released images of Nix, which can be seen above. If you stare at the oddly shaped, gnarled moon, with its craters and swirls, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it looks not just like a football but like a potato. Which raises the question: Would a nickname for these moons be pronounced plutayto — or plutahto?

@NASANewHorizons spacecraft snaps first pictures of Pluto and its largest moon!!!!

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Lots more info on the New Horizons spacecraft at the NASA website here and here!!!

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returned its first new images of Pluto on Wednesday, as the probe closes in on the dwarf planet. Although still just a dot along with its largest moon, Charon, the images come on the 109th birthday of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the distant icy world in 1930.