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Where is New Horizons now
SpaceListener
post Mar 30 2008, 01:07 AM
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NH will arrive very soon Saturn's orbit and its distance travel would be similar from Earth to Saturn and from Saturn to Uranus. Wait for another around 2 1/2 years to reach Uranus.

P.S.The times and distances shown were just done only by mentally estimating. Would be interested to hear the real numbers? smile.gif
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Greg Hullender
post Mar 30 2008, 08:28 PM
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According to the NH website, "New Horizons' next checkpoint comes on June 8, 2008, when it passes the orbit of Saturn" so it's still a couple of months away.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/passingpla...ets_current.php

Here are the other interesting dates from the same page

Uranus: March 18, 2011
Neptune: August 24, 2014
Pluto: July 14, 2015

So Uranus' orbit is almost exactly 3 years away.

--Greg
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Alan Stern
post Mar 30 2008, 08:47 PM
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These planet orbit crossings are based on whatever day we pass the distance of the planet, so although we are currently beyond Saturn's semi-major axis, Saturn is near its aphelion and we don't count the orbit crossing until we are further out than Saturn itself is. Some interesting coincidences are going to occur:

Uranus passage occurs just as MESSENGER (another APL mission) settles into Mercury orbit--same day.

Neptune passage is the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2's Neptune flyby-- essentially to the day.

Pluto encounter is the 50th anniversary of Mariner 4--the first mission to Mars--to the day.

-Alan


QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Mar 30 2008, 09:28 PM) *
According to the NH website, "New Horizons' next checkpoint comes on June 8, 2008, when it passes the orbit of Saturn" so it's still a couple of months away.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/passingpla...ets_current.php

Here are the other interesting dates from the same page

Uranus: March 18, 2011
Neptune: August 24, 2014
Pluto: July 14, 2015

So Uranus' orbit is almost exactly 3 years away.

--Greg
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nprev
post Mar 31 2008, 12:17 AM
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Rather remarkable coincidences indeed, Alan! Come clean; you planned this all along! wink.gif tongue.gif

The Mariner 4 connection is an excellent educational tie-in on that day, which itself will be a profound milestone for UMSF: 50 years of optical reconnaissance of the Solar System, and the initial completion of same for all the planets as we understood them at the dawn of the Space Age.


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SpaceListener
post Mar 31 2008, 02:47 PM
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Alan, good comments! These will help us to feel closer to the NH mission! Every anything anniversary or milestone, will revive the presence of NH. wink.gif
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edstrick
post Apr 1 2008, 06:12 AM
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"...These planet orbit crossings are based on whatever day we pass the distance of the planet, so although we are currently beyond Saturn's semi-major axis, Saturn is near its aphelion and we don't count the orbit crossing until we are further out than Saturn itself is..."

I've thought that there's a pedantically-over-precise :-) way of saying when something's outside whatever's orbit, especially for something leaving the solar system outside the vicinity of the ecliptic (like the Voyagers).

Each planet's orbit is an ellipse, with the semi-major axis going through the sun. Imagine rotating the planet's orbit on the semimajor axis, to form an elliptcal sphereoid "membrane" with the sun at one focal point. A spacecraft or whatever is beyond the planet's orbit when it punches through that membrane. (let's hope it doesn't deflate it!)
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Alan Stern
post Apr 8 2008, 09:51 PM
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All-- Today we are 810 days from launch and 405 days from Jupiter C/A. That is, we have spent precisely as many days post-Jupiter as it took to get there.

And at the very end of May we will be 25% of the way to the Pluto system in days—so we are about to enter the long middle of the journey that will last until early 2013.

There are still 2652 days to go. Vigilance is our watchword.

-Alan
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MahFL
post Apr 10 2008, 02:43 PM
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25 % sounds good, until you realize you have 3 more 25's to go.....In the mean time I look forward to Phoenix.
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ElkGroveDan
post Apr 10 2008, 02:56 PM
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QUOTE (MahFL @ Apr 10 2008, 06:43 AM) *
25 % sounds good, until you realize you have 3 more 25's to go.....

But it seems like yesterday that NH was launched. Just three more 'seems like yesterday's to go.


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Spirit
post Apr 14 2008, 01:51 PM
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Are my calculations correct that within 42-43 days NH will be 10 AU from the Sun or just app. 10 days before crossing the orbit of Saturn?


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Alan Stern
post Apr 14 2008, 03:31 PM
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QUOTE (Spirit @ Apr 14 2008, 02:51 PM) *
Are my calculations correct that within 42-43 days NH will be 10 AU from the Sun or just app. 10 days before crossing the orbit of Saturn?


Correct-- The NH 10 AU crossing is 2 June 2008 and the NH Saturn heliocentric distance position crossing is 8 June 2008.

-Alan
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DFinfrock
post Apr 15 2008, 01:37 AM
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I believe that Hew Horizons is supposed to be the fasted spacecraft ever launched. So at what point in the distant future does it pass the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft to become the farthest from earth? (I know they have a big head start, but NH should eventually take first place).

David
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elakdawalla
post Apr 15 2008, 03:16 AM
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Hi David, the idea that New Horizons will outstrip the Voyagers is a very common misconception due to this sentence in the post-launch press release: "The 1,054-pound, piano-sized spacecraft is the fastest ever launched..." New Horizons did leave Earth after launching faster than any other spacecraft to date, having launched about four percent faster than the previous record holder, Ulysses. And New Horizons will receive one further burst of speed during its flyby of Jupiter in 2007. However, both Voyagers also received gravity assists from Jupiter, and because they both flew closer to Jupiter than New Horizons will, their gravity assists were larger. In addition, both Voyagers also received boosts from Saturn flybys, and Voyager 2 went on to further flybys of Uranus and Neptune. The Uranus flyby sped it up, but the Neptune one actually slowed it down. New Horizons, on the other hand, gets only one more close flyby, of Pluto. And Pluto's mass is so tiny that it will be unlikely to add enough speed to New Horizons to allow it ever to overtake either of the Voyagers.

(If this sounds pat, it's because I wrote it for a Planetary Radio Q and A. Hope it's right. smile.gif)

--Emily


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Greg Hullender
post Apr 15 2008, 05:00 AM
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It's also worth pointing out that, in terms of mere velocity, Messenger is now (I think) the fastest space probe ever. I'm thinking NH had the greatest delta-V imparted by a rocket. And Voyager 2 has the greatest hyperbolic excess so far. All different ways of interpreting "fastest."

--Greg
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mchan
post Apr 15 2008, 06:44 AM
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The two Helios approached closer to the Sun than Messenger, and may have a higher orbital velocity at perihelion.
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