Astronomers Hoping for Glimpse of Pluto in New Zealand

Scientists from all over the world will gather in Central Otago on New Zealand’s South Island for a rare 90-second glimpse of Pluto on Tuesday June 30.

“A stellar occultation (is) an event when light from a star is blocked by a planet much like a solar or lunar eclipse”, according to NIWA, the government’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

The rare event, expected at about 5 am, would “enable spectroscopic measurements to be made, allowing its atmosphere to be probed and studied”, said Dr Richard Querel, NIWA atmospheric scientist.

Renowned for its clear skies the NIWA observatory in the central Otago region offers the best chance of seeing the rare occurrence.

The stellar occultation occurs just two weeks before New Horizons, NASA’s spaceship is scheduled to fly past Pluto collecting data and images. Comparisons would then be made between the ground-based and satellite observations.

Article Source: Shanghai Daily, Xinhua News Agency, June 24, 2015.

Image Source: Commons.Wikimedia

Tags: NASA  New Horizons  Pluto  Shanghai Daily  South Island  stellar occultation  Xinhua  

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