Pluto’s famous heart powers icy winds on the dwarf planet | Live Science

Pluto’s icy heart is beating.

The dwarf planet’s famous heart-shaped feature, which NASA’s discovered during its epic July 2015 flyby, drives atmospheric circulation patterns on Pluto, a new study suggests.

Most of the action comes courtesy of the heart’s left lobe, a 600-mile-wide (1,000 kilometers) nitrogen-ice plain called Sputnik Planitia. This exotic ice vaporizes during the day and condenses into ice again at night, causing nitrogen winds to blow, the researchers determined. ( is dominated by nitrogen, like Earth’s, though the dwarf planet’s air is about 100,000 times thinner than the stuff we breathe.)  

These winds carry heat, particles of haze and grains of ice westward, staining the ices there with dark streaks.

“This highlights the fact that Pluto’s atmosphere and winds — even if the density of the atmosphere is very low — can impact the surface,” study lead author Tanguy Bertrand, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, . 

And that westward direction is interesting in itself, considering that Pluto spins eastward on its axis. The dwarf planet’s atmosphere therefore exhibits an odd “retrorotation,” study team members said.

Bertrand and his colleagues studied data gathered by New Horizons during the probe’s 2015 close encounter. The researchers also performed computer simulations to model Pluto’s nitrogen cycle and weather, especially the dwarf planet’s winds.

This work revealed the likely presence of westerly winds — a high-altitude variety that races along at least 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the surface and a fast-moving type closer to the ground that follows Sputnik Planitia’s western edge.

That edge is bounded by high cliffs, which appear to trap the near-surface winds inside the Sputnik Planitia basin for a spell before they can escape to the west, the new study suggested.

“It’s very much the kind of thing that’s due to the topography or specifics of the setting,” planetary scientist Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, said in the same statement. 

“I’m impressed that Pluto’s models have advanced to the point that you can talk about regional weather,” added Hansen-Koharcheck, who was not involved in the new study.

New Horizons’ Pluto flyby revealed that the dwarf planet is far more complex and diverse than anyone had thought, featuring towering water-ice mountains and weird “bladed” terrain in addition to the photogenic heart (whose official name, Tombaugh Regio, honors the discoverer of Pluto, ).

The , which was published online Tuesday (Feb. 4) in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, reinforces and extends that basic message.

“Sputnik Planitia may be as important for Pluto’s climate as the ocean is for Earth’s climate,” Bertrand said. “If you remove Sputnik Planitia — if you remove the heart of Pluto — you won’t have the same circulation.”

Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by), is out now. Follow him on Twitter . Follow us on Twitter or

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Everything You Need To Know About Nigeria’s Film Director, Tope Oshin-Ogun – How Nigeria News

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Tope Oshin is a Nigerian television and film director, producer and casting director. In 2015 Pulse magazine named her as one of “9 Nigerian female movie directors you should know” in the Nollywood film industry and in March 2018, in commemoration of the Women’s History Month, Tope was celebrated by OkayAfrica as one of the Okay100 Women.

The interactive campaign celebrates extraordinary women from Africa and the diaspora making waves across a wide array of industries, while driving positive impact in their communities and the world at large.

Tope hails from a devout Christian family. As a child she engaged in drawing, singing and dancing, and had aspirations to be a painter.

She studied economics at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, but left the course to study Public Administration, and then Theatre Arts, TV & FIlm Production at Lagos State University.

She became more interested in filmmaking and later studied Film Production, and Cinematography at Colorado Film School of the Community College of Aurora, Denver, and Met Film School, Ealing Studios, London respectively.

Tope is also an alumnus of ‘Talents Durban’ and Berlinale Talents, a networking summit of select outstanding creatives from the world of film and drama series across the globe.

Tope, who was an actor for 12 years, featuring in films like Relentless (2010 film), cut her teeth in directing, working as an assistant director for The Apprentice Africa and has since become known for directing popular African TV dramas and soap operas such as Hush, Hotel Majestic, Tinsel (TV series) and Season 6 of MTV Shuga.

Though she has directed several introspective short films such as The Young Smoker, Till Death Do Us Part, New Horizons and Ireti, she is known for her 2012 feature film Journey to Self, and March 2018 feature film release New Money.

Oshin has produced some of the highest box office breaking movies in Nigeria, including the 2015 romantic film Fifty, about four fifty-year-old female Lagos residents, which broke box office records upon release in December 2015, taking N20 million in the first weekend and The Wedding Party 2, as at 2018, the highest grossing Nigerian film.

In 2016, she produced and directed the documentary, Amaka’s Kin: The Women Of Nollywood, as a memorial to prominent filmmaker Amaka Igwe, who died in 2014. The documentary addresses issues facing Nigerian female directors, working in a male-dominated industry.

As a follow up to her documentary, in 2017, and as part of the BBC 100 Women season, Tope celebrated the new generation of women filmmakers reinventing Nollywood, by presenting the BBC documentary Nigeria-Shooting It Like A Woman.

Apart from the BBC World Service documentary, Tope’s Amaka’s Kin – The Women Of Nollywood also influenced a lot of other TV shows and literary works alike, including Niran Adedokun’s book Ladies Calling the Shots.

Tope also has a thriving career as a Casting director and has cast for several film and television projects including all 3 Nigerian seasons of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation drama series Shuga.

Since 2015 till date, Tope has served as a juror for the International Emmy Award.

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