FRIENDS ONLY LECTURE: Pluto: then and now

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In 2015, 85 years after Pluto was discovered, it was finally reached by the New Horizons space probe, and what the probe found there transformed our understanding of that distant world. Far from the dead dwarf planet that many were expecting, Pluto is an active world, whose internal heat sources maintain a complex surface with a wide range of features, many of which are unique in the Solar System. Meanwhile, the action of ultraviolet solar radiation on Pluto's thin atmosphere and surface ices is forming a range of organic material. This talk will describe the history of the investigation of Pluto and its moons, the New Horizons mission, and the latest discoveries about the dwarf planet, as well as looking ahead to the next stage of the probe's ground-breaking exploration of the outer Solar System. Dr Mike Goldsmith studied variable stars and cosmic dust at Keele University, receiving his PhD in 1987. Since then he has written more than fifty books and scientific papers on a variety of subjects, including astronomy and astrophysics. After working in the field of acoustics for many years, as head of the Acoustics Group of the UK's National Physical Laboratory, he is now a freelance researcher and science writer. He lives in Twickenham. Copies of his book 'New Horizons to Pluto' will be available' for purchase on the day. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception in the RAS Library.
Website: www.ras.org.uk
Website: www.ras.org.uk