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Meet Pluto in the van der Hulst auditorium today !

Submitter: Michael Garrett
Description: This afternoon around 1:49 pm (11:49 UTC), the New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto and its system of moons. Unfortunately, the first images from the fly-by are not expected until later in the day but NASA TV will be following the count down to the closest approach with the mission operations team at John Hopkins University.

We plan to present the live NASA TV stream in the van der Hulst Auditorium for those that are interested (starting around 1.30 pm - just before the closest approach). The latest images of Pluto from yesterday's pre-flyby observations are also expected to be shown around that time.

The radio signals from the 2.1m X-band communications system (see image above) take ~ 4.5 hours to reach the Earth. Due to the large distance and the weakness of the signal (the transmitter power is only ~ 12W), the current data rate is restricted to ~ 2000 bits/second - it will take months before all the data are returned to Earth.
Copyright: ASTRON & NASA
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