Here’s something no one on Earth has ever seen before. NASA released this new image today (July 24, 2015). It’s the night side of Pluto with the hazy atmosphere scattering light from a distant sun.
This is the first view of Pluto, a Kuiper Belt Object and a dwarf planet seen from the night side.
The diagram inset below shows what was revealed. A layer of hydrocarbon haze stretches up to 80 miles ( into the atmosphere and is believed to be responsible for the planet’s reddish color.
Bottom line: New image just released! A stunning snapshot of Pluto’s night side. The halo is from sunlight shining through the dwarf planet’s hazy atmosphere.
Andrew R. Brown, an avid follower of the space program, writes frequently about space topics for EarthSky. Over several years, he has also suggested observations that were carried out by imaging teams of some space missions. He has lives in Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom and works for local government, Kent County Council.