Our Favorite Images Of Pluto — So Far

Revealing more details on our solar system’s itty-bitty misfit

Photos emerging from NASA
The dwarf planet is packing some serious beauty.

Photos emerging from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft continue to amaze scientists and space enthusiasts alike, revealing more details on our solar system’s itty-bitty misfit.

If you are so inclined, you can read an evaluation of the expedition’s initial scientific results, just released this month. Instead of posting them individually, we’ve aggregated our favorite photos to have been downlinked from New Horizons so far. Enjoy:

The Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) took blue, red and infrared images of the little planet. In this photo, these images are combined to reveal Pluto's brilliant "heart."

Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this sharper global view of Pluto, writes NASA.

The same image, now enhanced with even more color data.

A composite of enhanced color images of Pluto and Charon, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft as it passed through the Pluto system. Their true separation is not to scale.

Taken in July 2014, the New Horizons spacecraft captured a high-resolution enhanced color view of Charon, one of Pluto's moons.

MVIC images reveal a blue haze layer, thought to be similar in nature to what's seen in Titan, Saturn's moon.

When backlit by the sun, Pluto's atmosphere resembles a halo.

Two versions of Pluto's haze layers. According to NASA, he left version has had only minor processing, while the right version has been specially processed to reveal a large number of discrete haze layers in the atmosphere.

One of the most recent high-resolution images from the New Horizons spacecraft. According to NASA, this view shows what you would see if you were approximately 1,100 miles above Pluto’s equatorial area. The dark, cratered region toward the bottom of the image is informally deemed the Cthulhu Regio. New Horizons captured this photo from a distance of 50,000 miles.

Pluto and Charon shown in a composite of natural color images. In order to fit Pluto and Charon in the same frame in their correct relative positions, NASA rotate the image so the north poles of both Pluto and Charon are pointing toward the upper left.

This high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto was captured by New Horizons on July 14, 2015.

According to NASA, Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode.

Pluto's mountains seen from a farther distance near sunset. The scene captured here is around 780 miles wide.

The rugged, icy mountains of Pluto can be seen in this New Horizons photo, taken in July of this year. The image here encapsulates a space approximately 230 miles wide, with the flat expanse on the right informally called the Sputnik Planum. In the left foreground, we see the Norgay Montes mountains and the Hillary Montes closer to the skyline.

From NASA: "The image includes dark, ancient heavily cratered terrain; bright, smooth geologically young terrain; assembled masses of mountains; and an enigmatic field of dark, aligned ridges that resemble dunes; its origin is under debate. The smallest visible features are 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) in size."

The ridges and reddish material that compose the Tartarus Dorsa mountains seen in this photo puzzle NASA scientists. The view presented here is approximately 330 miles across, according to NASA.

The sunset reveals a fog blanketing Pluto. This image, taken by New Horizons this July, was taken from a distance of 11,000 miles, and the width covered is 110 miles.


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