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New Horizons - Seven Years Out! [Jan. 18th, 2013|02:19 pm]
savepluto
Tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the launch of the New Horizons space probe, on its way to Pluto. How will you celebrate?
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Six Years Ago Today, Pluto Was Demoted [Aug. 24th, 2012|02:51 pm]
savepluto
Those of us at the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet (or SP3) are still committed to the idea that Pluto's status ought to be re-evaluated, and that Pluto should once again be referred to as a planet, and not a dwarf planet.

If you visit our website, you'll see that we continue to support scientific arguments in favor of Pluto; we also still feel that Pluto has the right to be grandfathered in for sentimental reasons. But there's another discussion we've come across that we feel bolsters our argument.

Whether or not Pluto gets reinstated, we're still very excited that the New Horizons mission will reach Pluto now in only three years. What wonders will we discover? We can only imagine.

Pluto Is A Planet
Save Pluto
Visit our Planet Pluto store for official SP3 merchandise.
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A Stamp for New Horizons [Feb. 7th, 2012|09:07 am]
savepluto
On January 19, 2006, NASA launched the New Horizons spacecraft on a nine year voyage to Pluto, the only planet never to have been visited by a manmade spacecraft. Departing Earth at the fastest speed ever for a spacecraft, it passed the orbit of Mars in less than four months and is already beyond Uranus.

Although New Horizon’s primary mission is still three years in the future, it has already performed a flyby of asteroid 132524 APL and took measurements of some of Jupiter’s smaller moons, Amalthea, Himalia, and Elara, and studied volcanoes on Io, during a gravity assist from the massive planet.

On July 14, this probe, which has already proven its usefulness, will fly by Pluto and its system of moons: Charon, Hydra, Nix, and the cleverly named S/2011 P1. While it toils in the Plutonian depths, we would like to honor New Horizons with the release of a postage stamp depicting the spacecraft and its primary quarry.

Please join the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet in signing a petition to ask the US Postal Service to commission this stamp which would look fantastic on envelopes and in collections for years to come.
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New Horizons Launch Sixth Anniversary [Jan. 19th, 2012|10:19 am]
savepluto
Six years ago today, NASA launched the New Horizons spacecraft toward Pluto. Hard to believe so much time has passed, and that we're closer to the arrival of New Horizons in 2015 than we are to when it was launched.

Why not spend a few minutes today thinking about what incredible wonders New Horizons will find when it reaches the outermost planet of our solar system? Visit NASA's New Horizons page and read up on what the spacecraft is doing.

Pluto Is A Planet!
Save Pluto!
Visit our Planet Pluto store for official SP3 merchandise.
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Five Years Ago Today, Pluto Was Demoted [Aug. 24th, 2011|09:25 am]
savepluto
In the midst of all else happening in the world, whether it be new events or other anniversaries, some might feel that the fifth anniversary of Pluto's demotion is minor at best and inconsequential at worst. But those of us at the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet (or SP3) are still committed to the idea that Pluto's status ought to be re-evaluated, and that Pluto should once again be referred to as a planet, and not a dwarf planet.

If you visit our website, you'll see that we continue to support scientific arguments in favor of Pluto; we also still feel that Pluto has the right to be grandfathered in for sentimental reasons. But there's another discussion we've come across that we feel bolsters our argument.

Interestingly, it comes from Mike Brown, the astronomer whose discoveries led the way to Pluto's demotion. In his blog post from yesterday, Free the dwarf planets!, Brown makes the convincing argument that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) really should not be allowed to declare themselves the arbiter of what is or isn't a planet:


When the IAU defined dwarf planet they also declared themselves gatekeepers of what counts and what doesn’t. While that might not sound like a big deal at first, it is actually quite a deviation from standard scientific practice. In every other part of astronomy, if I make a discovery – let’s say a new brown dwarf – I write a scientific paper announcing the new discovery to the world. Other scientists can then go observe the object and decide, perhaps, that I was mistaken. They then write a paper saying that, no, it wasn’t a brown dwarf, it was a distant galaxy, and the scientific debate continues. At no point is the IAU required to ever enter the object on the official brown dwarf or official distant galaxy list, because no such official lists exist.


Whether or not Pluto gets reinstated, we're still very excited that the New Horizons mission will reach Pluto now in only four years. What wonders will we discover? We can only imagine.

Pluto Is A Planet
Save Pluto
Visit our Planet Pluto store for official SP3 merchandise.
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NASA'S HUBBLE DISCOVERS ANOTHER MOON AROUND PLUTO [Jul. 20th, 2011|09:49 am]
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WASHINGTON -- Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered
a fourth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto. The tiny, new
satellite, temporarily designated P4, was uncovered in a Hubble
survey searching for rings around the dwarf planet.

The new moon is the smallest discovered around Pluto. It has an
estimated diameter of 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 km). By comparison,
Charon, Pluto's largest moon, is 648 miles (1,043 km) across, and the
other moons, Nix and Hydra, are in the range of 20 to 70 miles in
diameter (32 to 113 km).

"I find it remarkable that Hubble's cameras enabled us to see such a
tiny object so clearly from a distance of more than 3 billion miles
(5 billion km)," said Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in
Mountain View, Calif., who led this observing program with Hubble.

The finding is a result of ongoing work to support NASA's New Horizons
mission, scheduled to fly through the Pluto system in 2015. The
mission is designed to provide new insights about worlds at the edge
of our solar system. Hubble's mapping of Pluto's surface and
discovery of its satellites have been invaluable to planning for New
Horizons' close encounter.

"This is a fantastic discovery," said New Horizons' principal
investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in
Boulder, Colo. "Now that we know there's another moon in the Pluto
system, we can plan close-up observations of it during our flyby."

The new moon is located between the orbits of Nix and Hydra, which
Hubble discovered in 2005. Charon was discovered in 1978 at the U.S.
Naval Observatory and first resolved using Hubble in 1990 as a
separate body from Pluto.

The dwarf planet's entire moon system is believed to have formed by a
collision between Pluto and another planet-sized body early in the
history of the solar system. The smashup flung material that
coalesced into the family of satellites observed around Pluto.

Lunar rocks returned to Earth from the Apollo missions led to the
theory that our moon was the result of a similar collision between
Earth and a Mars-sized body 4.4 billion years ago. Scientists believe
material blasted off Pluto's moons by micrometeoroid impacts may form
rings around the dwarf planet, but the Hubble photographs have not
detected any so far.

"This surprising observation is a powerful reminder of Hubble's
ability as a general purpose astronomical observatory to make
astounding, unintended discoveries," said Jon Morse, astrophysics
division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

P4 was first seen in a photo taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3
on June 28. It was confirmed in subsequent Hubble pictures taken on
July 3 and July 18. The moon was not seen in earlier Hubble images
because the exposure times were shorter. There is a chance it
appeared as a very faint smudge in 2006 images, but was overlooked
because it was obscured.

Hubble is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the
European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Md., manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science
Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations.
STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for
Research in Astronomy Inc. in Washington.
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Richard Branson buys Pluto, reinstates it as a planet [Apr. 1st, 2011|02:36 pm]
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On this wonderful April 1, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic brings us the wonderful news that Pluto will once again be called a planet:

Richard Branson buys Pluto, reinstates it as a planet


Richard Branson has bought Pluto and intends to have it reinstated as a planet.

Sir Richard Branson is setting his sights on the final frontier in his latest business venture announced today....


Click the link for the full story.
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Mike Brown in Cambridge, MA Tomorrow Night [Jan. 25th, 2011|09:52 am]
savepluto
Mike Brown, the astronomer who discovered Eris and who didn't necessarily want to kill Pluto but ended up doing so, will be speaking at Tommy Doyles Irish Pub & Restaurant at 96 Winthrop St. in Harvard Square tomorrow night starting at 7 pm. He will be lecturing on his new book "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming." The president and vice-president of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto As a Planet will be there to show our support for Pluto...and to get our copy of the book signed. :-)


For more information, there is a Facebook page about the event at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128794050520762
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Four Years Ago Today... [Aug. 24th, 2010|02:55 pm]
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Four years ago today, the IAU voted to demote Pluto from planet to dwarf planet.

Are you wearing your Pluto armband in memory?
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At Wellfleet library, astronomer’s talk on Pluto is far out [Jul. 26th, 2010|09:53 am]
savepluto
http://www.wickedlocal.com/truro/features/x1598948984/At-Wellfleet-library-astronomer-s-talk-on-Pluto-is-far-out


"Wikipedia locked its page because the discussion on Pluto got so violent. You can join the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet, so the controversy goes on," he said. But when the International Astronomical Union held its last meeting last year, "There was scarcely a word said about Pluto."
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