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New Horizons is Far Enough from Earth to See an “Alien Sky”

11 Jun 2020, 21:37 UTC
New Horizons is Far Enough from Earth to See an “Alien Sky”
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This two-frame animation blinks back and forth between New Horizons and Earth images of Proxima Centauri (4.24 light-years away) against background stars, illustrating the different view New Horizons has. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Las Cumbres Observatory/Siding Spring Observatory
(News from JHUAPL)
For the first time, a spacecraft has sent back pictures of the sky from so far away that some stars appear to be in different positions than we see from Earth.
More than four billion miles from home and speeding toward interstellar space, NASA’s New Horizons has traveled so far that it now has a unique view of the nearest stars. “It’s fair to say that New Horizons is looking at an alien sky, unlike what we see from Earth,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “And that has allowed us to do something that had never been accomplished before — to see the nearest stars visibly displaced on the sky from the positions we see them on Earth.”
Artist’s impression of the New Horizons flyby of Pluto and Charon in July 2015. (NASA/SwRI)
On April 22–23, [New Horizons] turned its long-range telescopic camera to a pair ...

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