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First-ever look at Pluto’s night side

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.

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View larger. | As New Horizons sped away from Pluto, it looked back toward Pluto and the sun and captured this image of the dwarf planet and its hazy atmosphere. Image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15, when the craft was about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) past Pluto. Via NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI. New Horizons spacecraft.

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.

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View larger. | Image via NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI. New Horizons spacecraft.

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

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