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Newest Pluto images from New Horizons

New Horizons – which swept near Pluto in July – took a break from sending back images like this. Then this week, NASA released a new batch, and they are amazing!

View larger. | Remember the beautiful image of the heart-shaped feature on Pluto?  Here it is in closer detail.  This image covers an area 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) across. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

View larger. | Remember the beautiful image of the heart-shaped feature on Pluto? Here it is in closer detail. This image covers an area 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) across. Scientists call the heart-shaped feature Tombaugh Regio; it’s a smooth, icy plain. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Remember the beautiful heart-shaped feature on Pluto?  Here it is - the left side, anyway - in closer detail.  This image is composite of the part of Pluto known to scientists as Tombaugh Regio, which is covered in smooth, icy plains.

View larger. | The left side of Pluto’s “heart,” in even more detail. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

A closer view of the border region of the Pluto's

View larger. | A closer view of the border region of the Pluto’s “heart.” There are mountain ridges and other kinds of elevated terrain here, a landscape that scientists call a “chaos region.” Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Some regions on Pluto are much darker than others.  Scientists aren't sure why.

View larger. | Some regions on Pluto are much darker than others. Scientists aren’t sure why. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

View larger. | The twilight region on Pluto, where day meets night.

View larger. | The twilight region on Pluto, where day meets night. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

View larger. | I love this one, but then I'm a sky person.  This image shows two versions of Pluto’s night sky, with its strange haze layers, taken by New Horizons as it looked back at Pluto shortly after closest approach, as it was leaving this world behind.  On the left, an image with only minor processing.  On the right, special processing reveals a not just one haze layer but several.  Be sure to look at the large version.  Subtle parallel streaks in the haze may be crepuscular rays- shadows cast on the haze by topography such as mountain ranges on Pluto, similar to the rays sometimes seen in the sky after the sun sets behind mountains on Earth.

View larger. | Two versions of Pluto’s night side, with its strange haze layer. New Horizons captured the image while looking back at Pluto, as it was leaving this world behind. The lefthand image underwent only minor processing. On the right – if you click into the larger view – you’ll see not just one haze layer but several, made visible by special processing. You can see subtle parallel streaks in the haze, which scientists say, may be crepuscular rays: shadows cast on the haze by Pluto’s mountains. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Click here for a page of the newest images from Pluto

Deborah Byrd

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