At the beginning of September, the whole world was admiring the fantastic view of the night side of Pluto, the photos were taken by the New Horizons spacecraft after it on July 14, 2015 approached the ice planet to the maximum. The shooting was made opposite the Sun, while Pluto was in an amazing atmospheric haze that created a ghostly glow over its crescent, and the icy peaks of the mountains reflected the light at their peaks.
On Thursday, NASA published an update of these images, showing a clearer image of Pluto in the glow itself. These high resolution photographs come to us from the Kuiper Belt, the distance from which to the Earth is more than 3 billion miles (almost 6 billion kilometers).
Photos taken with high resolution. They come from the Kuiper Belt, the distance from which to the Earth is more than 3 billion miles (almost 6 billion kilometers). Multispectral images were obtained using the “Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera” camera from a distance of 11 thousand miles (18,000 kilometers) from Pluto. The visible range of the camera (MVIC) has a resolution of 700 m / pixels; in the more complete version of the images, the illuminated details of the dwarf planet are clearly visible.
The north side of Pluto is depicted on the right in this photo.
The spacecraft captured this image during a historic flight on July 14th. The image turned out exactly like this, since the axis of rotation of Pluto is inclined by almost 120 degrees.
Based on these data, scientists now know that Pluto has an extended atmosphere, it consists of smoke, divided into more than tens of layers. These layers contain particles of fine soot, it contains organic compounds, which subsequently settle to the surface of Pluto, painting it red. Sunlight on Pluto disperses the glow of particles in the atmosphere and gives the planet a blue sky during long sunsets and sunrises.
Having successfully completed Pluto fly-overs, the New Horizons are now increasing their speed in the Kuiper Belt and are beginning to adjust their course. They will have the next meeting with a new object called 2014 MU69, an asteroid whose width is only 30-45 kilometers. The object is located a billion kilometers from Pluto, and if everything is in order, New Horizons will reach 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.