Space

NASA releases images displaying a day in the life of Pluto and Charon

NASA releases images displayin...
Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto
Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto
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Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto's large moon Charon
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Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto's large moon Charon
Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto
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Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto

NASA has released two images showcasing a full rotation of the dwarf planet Pluto and its unusually large moon Charon. The observations combined to create the mosaics were captured as the spacecraft made its high velocity pass of the dwarf planet using the probe's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera.

A day on Pluto lastsfor roughly 6.4 Earth-days, which is roughly the same amount of time that ittakes Charon to orbit its parent planet. Since her encounter withPluto, New Horizons has succeeded in characterizing the enigmaticdwarf planet in stunning detail, revealing a surprisingly complex anddiverse atmospheric and surface environment.

The images of Plutovary noticeably in definition, with the most detailed image featuringat the 6 o'clock position, and the blurriest at the 3 o'clock mark.The disparity in image quality results from New Horizons' rapidapproach to Pluto between July 7 - 13, during which time the probeclosed on the dwarf planet by roughly 5 million miles.

Note also that thedistinctive dimples that mark the lower region of the dwarf planet inthe images are not true geographical features, but rather artifactsthat occur as a by product of stitching together multiple images tocreate a global mosaic.

Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto's large moon Charon
Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto's large moon Charon

The images thatcomprise the portrait of Charon's day cycle, were captured at thesame time as observations of Pluto, and so are affected by the samedistance-based resolution issues. The most detailed image ispresented at the 12 o'clock position, whilst the most distant shotscomprised the 9 o'clock image.

The two portraitsdisplay a marked difference in geology between the dwarf planet andher moon. Whilst Pluto exhibits significant disparity in surfacefeatures between the "encounter hemisphere" and its "farside," the surface of Charon is remarkably uniform, displayingpredominantly the same surface features on a global scale.

Further data will betransmitted by New Horizons over the coming months that will shed furtherlight on the fascinating geological features of Pluto and her Moons,as the probe races towards its next potential scientific target – aplanetoid known as 2014 MU69.

Source: NASA

NASA has released two images showcasing a full rotation of the dwarf planet Pluto and its unusually large moon Charon. The observations combined to create the mosaics were captured as the spacecraft made its high velocity pass of the dwarf planet using the probe's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera.

A day on Pluto lastsfor roughly 6.4 Earth-days, which is roughly the same amount of time that ittakes Charon to orbit its parent planet. Since her encounter withPluto, New Horizons has succeeded in characterizing the enigmaticdwarf planet in stunning detail, revealing a surprisingly complex anddiverse atmospheric and surface environment.

The images of Plutovary noticeably in definition, with the most detailed image featuringat the 6 o'clock position, and the blurriest at the 3 o'clock mark.The disparity in image quality results from New Horizons' rapidapproach to Pluto between July 7 - 13, during which time the probeclosed on the dwarf planet by roughly 5 million miles.

Note also that thedistinctive dimples that mark the lower region of the dwarf planet inthe images are not true geographical features, but rather artifactsthat occur as a by product of stitching together multiple images tocreate a global mosaic.

Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto's large moon Charon
Image displaying a full rotation of Pluto's large moon Charon

The images thatcomprise the portrait of Charon's day cycle, were captured at thesame time as observations of Pluto, and so are affected by the samedistance-based resolution issues. The most detailed image ispresented at the 12 o'clock position, whilst the most distant shotscomprised the 9 o'clock image.

The two portraitsdisplay a marked difference in geology between the dwarf planet andher moon. Whilst Pluto exhibits significant disparity in surfacefeatures between the "encounter hemisphere" and its "farside," the surface of Charon is remarkably uniform, displayingpredominantly the same surface features on a global scale.

Further data will betransmitted by New Horizons over the coming months that will shed furtherlight on the fascinating geological features of Pluto and her Moons,as the probe races towards its next potential scientific target – aplanetoid known as 2014 MU69.

Source: NASA

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