Sun provides dramatic backlighting for latest Pluto pictures

Sun provides dramatic backlighting for latest Pluto pictures
This July 14, 2015 photo released by NASA on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 shows the atmosphere and surface features of Pluto, lit from behind by the sun. It was made 15 minutes after the New Horizons' spacecraft's closest approach. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP)

The newest pictures of Pluto are so up-close and personal that the mission's top scientist says it "makes you feel you are there."

NASA released the photos Thursday. The images were gathered by the New Horizons spacecraft that swept past the in July.

Pluto's curvature is featured in the latest pictures, with the sun providing dramatic backlighting. Rugged terrain is shown, as is the extended atmosphere of the tiny orb on the frigid outskirts of the solar system. The panorama stretches 780 miles.

Principal scientist Alan Stern says the pictures shed new light on Pluto's mountains, glaciers and plains.

Johns Hopkins University operates New Horizons, the world's first visitor to Pluto. The spacecraft is now 48 million miles beyond Pluto.

Sun provides dramatic backlighting for latest Pluto pictures
This July 14, 2015 photo released by NASA on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 shows the atmosphere and surface features of Pluto, lit from behind by the sun. It was made 15 minutes after the New Horizons' spacecraft's closest approach. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP)

Explore further

Image: The dark side of Pluto

More information: Johns Hopkins: pluto.jhuapl.edu/

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: Sun provides dramatic backlighting for latest Pluto pictures (2015, September 17) retrieved 17 November 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-sun-backlighting-latest-pluto-pictures.html
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