Sunset on Pluto

A full, high-resolution version of the Pluto sunset image is now available.  Taken just fifteen minutes after closest approach, this shows Pluto’s layered atmosphere and the crazy terrain near the limb on the right.


But this little world’s sunset makes me think of the sunsets on Asteroid B612, where the Little Prince lived.  He loved the sunsets, so he would love this as well.


But on your tiny planet, my little prince, all you need do is move your chair a few steps. You can see the day end and the twilight falling whenever you like…

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”

 And a little later you added:

 “You know– one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”

 “Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”

 But the little prince made no reply.

Mais, sur ta si petite planète, il te suffirait de tirer ta chaise de quelques pas. Et tu regardais le crépuscule chaque fois que tu le désirais…

-Un jour, j’ai vu le soleil se coucher quarante-trois fois!

Et un peu plus tard tu ajoutais:

-Tu sais…quand on est tellement triste on aime les couchers de soleil…

-Le jour des quarante-trois fois tu étais donc tellement triste? Mais le petit prince ne répondit pas.

If you have not read “The Little Prince”, by Antoine de St-Exupery (himself a noted pilot, engineer, and sometime explorer, who based the story slightly on his experience of being stranded in the Sahara), you absolutely must.  It is old enough now to be public domain:

The Little Prince (English translation)

Le petit prince (original French text)



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