Wednesday July 15 the New Horizons spacecraft sent back its flyby images of Pluto and the Pluto system. To celebrate for the community, Cabrillo Observatory, with the help of Jay Friedland and the NASA Ambassador Program, put on a presentation for local parents and for local school kids. We'd hoped to also take images of Pluto with the 12" Dome scope, but fog came in. Instead, we had a great presentation of the images, slides, and much material on Pluto, with Jay and I handing off to each other. There followed a tour of Cabrillo Observatory and our imaging systems, and invitations to join for future classes. It was a wonderful evening, and the new images of Pluto were amazing and not what I expected.

I started out with a short history of how Pluto was discovered to be the King of the Kuiper Belt, rather than the Runt of the Planets

While Jay took over, I grabbed some Pluto-esque cookies (little almond mountains like those on the new Pluto images!)

Rapt attention!

The Observatory wall and our picnic tables provided the perfect outdoor venue

Seems this might be a good way to handle future events, since the Astro dept also has a portable LCD projector

Sodium lighting off the low fog, above the hill, made for an eery, deep dark of the outer solar system feel to the evening

The New Horizon images were amazing. 11,000 ft mountains?... On a little ice ball too cold for any tectonics? It'll be fun figuring out the history of these worlds.

Pluto a day before closest approach. I (heart) Pluto!

Pluto's large moon Charon, with deep canyons and perhaps a whacking big scar on top

11,000 ft mountains of ice, bulbous and strangely shaped, on Pluto