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TV Shows Capture the Story Behind New Horizons' Pluto Discoveries

An array of TV documentaries and webcasts will put this week's discoveries from NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto in perspective.
Image: Watching for Pluto
People watch developments in NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

LAUREL, Md. — After the discovery, there's the Discovery Channel ... and "NOVA" on PBS ... and National Geographic Channel ... and the Slooh virtual observatory. Now that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is sending back pictures from its historic Pluto flyby, TV shows and webcasts are delving into the latest revelations as well as the mission's decade-long history.

Set your alarm clock or your video recorder for these viewing opportunities. The TV times we're citing are for viewers in the Eastern time zone, but check your local listings — and in case you miss the premiere, some shows may be rebroadcast at later times:

'Chasing Pluto,' 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, "NOVA" on PBS: The "NOVA" documentary team is on site here at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to show off the first images from the flyby — and provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the mission came together.

'Direct From Pluto,' 10 p.m. ET Wednesday, Discovery Science Channel: Another on-site team is covering the drama and the hoopla surrounding the first imagery. In addition to providing an inside look at the New Horizons mission, the show takes a wide-angle look at the Pluto phenomenon. Among the highlights: a visit to Seattle for this year's Dwarf Planet Pride Day, and a sound bite or two from yours truly.

'Mission Pluto,' 10 p.m. ET Friday, National Geographic Channel: A version of this documentary aired earlier this week, but the show airing Friday recaps Pluto Week and features interviews with the scientists involved.

Pluto on Slooh, 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday: The Slooh virtual observatory presents an online program via, featuring live views of Pluto from telescopes in the Canary Islands and a look at the close-ups being unveiled by the New Horizons team at 3 p.m. ET. Viewers can use the Twitter hashtag #SloohNewHorizons to ask questions about the mission, the images and Pluto. To track the top tweets about New Horizons, keep an eye on the #PlutoFlyby hashtag.