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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Monday, July 13, 2015

NASA's "Eyes on Pluto" real-time app

"Eyes on Pluto" is a JPL/NASA desktop app for Windows and Macs that can show you, in realistic real time animation, exactly what the New Horizons spacecraft is doing, and seeing.

A preview mode gives you a speeded-up look at the gyrations New Horizons will go through to map and measure Pluto and its moons during tomorrow morning's closest encounter.

You also can choose your point of view: "spacecraft" (New Horizon's own view); "ride along" (a point near the spacecraft; now not much different from the spacecraft view); and "overview" (which lets you see the weird, lumpy orbits of Pluto's moons, caused by the fact that Pluto and its major moon as actually almost a binary planet.

Today (Monday July 13 2015), 24 hours before closest approach, I think the best view is "preview" and "spacecraft." Let it run for a couple minutes; wait and watch. It's worth it!

Free download: http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-pluto.html