Environment & Science

How to find a 'Pluto party' or host your own Plutopalooza

An artist's concept shows the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015.
An artist's concept shows the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

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After 9 and a half years and roughly 3 billion miles of travel, NASA’s New Horizons probe will finally fly by Pluto early Tuesday morning, July 14.

However, it’ll take several hours for a signal from the craft to beam back to Earth, so scientists won’t know if the mission was a success until the evening. More on that here. 

If you want to watch live as the probe “phones home,” there are several ways you can do that. 

Planetary Radio Live

The Planetary Society is hosting a free live event about everyone’s favorite former planet here at KPCC in Pasadena. The crowd will watch live as the first post-flyby signals reach Earth.

Where: The Crawford Family Forum
474 S. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105

When: Tuesday, July 14, 5:00 - 6:30pm.

Who: The Planetary Society’s Mat Kaplan will talk with New Horizons scientists and Pluto-watchers. Expect a special surprise guest and a Skype appearance from Bill Nye!

RSVP for free or stream it live here:

Griffith Observatory Special Event

Griffith Observatory is also hosting a free event with hourly talks about the New Horizon mission starting at 1pm. NASA–TV coverage of the New Horizons flyby will be projected on a big screen at 5pm accompanied by commentary from Griffith Observatory staff. at 7:30 there will be a recap of the day's events.

Where: Griffith Observatory
 2800 E Observatory Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

When: Tuesday, July 14, 1:00 - 8:30pm.

Expect big crowds and tough parking but everyone who buys a ticket to the planetarium show will get a special commemorative Pluto button.

More information on the event timeline here.

Host your own Plutopalooza

If you'd rather stay home but you still want in on the action, you can host your own Pluto party.

Start by live streaming coverage of the probe on NASA TV at 5:30pm. You can also watch the documentary The Pluto Files hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Perhaps try this Pluto-themed cocktail from the folks at the Dinner Party Download.

If you are feeling crafty you can even make a paper model of the New Horizons spacecraft.