New Pictures of Pluto Show Precise Features

The mysterious tiny planet of Pluto is almost within the grasp of the NASA New Horizons spacecraft. The probe has already taken some amazing pictures of Pluto as it makes its travel there in less than 50 days, at which time it will provide even closer pictures of Pluto as it comes its closest to the planet.

Surface Details Already Amazing Scientists

New Horizons has already taken some images that were from about 77 million kilometers from the ninth planet in our solar system. It took the pictures of Pluto via the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI). Scientists are already excited as these images show more precise detail about Pluto than ever before regarding this seemingly complicated world. The surface is already shown in pictures of Pluto to have a high contrast appearance. The New Horizon craft will travel all around Pluto, so scientists will have many more of these types of pictures of Pluto to examine and learn more about this tiny world.

Pictures of Pluto Show Its Faces, Surface Variations

As the New Horizon craft gets closer to Pluto, which rotates on its axis each 6.4 Earth days, it has been able to get pictures of Pluto that let scientists see how that high contrast surface appears during various stages of its cycle of travel around its axis. The craft will study these facts in better detail once it gets closer to Pluto in about six weeks from now.

Horizon uses a special image deconvolution technique to sharpen the raw and unprocessed pictures of Pluto and get them sent to Earth for study. These images reveal that Pluto has very distinct and complex geographical features and that it could have a polar cap that differs depending on longitude.

Pluto Images Show Polar Cap, Give Scientists More Info to Study

The astronomers studying Pluto will be able to learn more about the planet’s polar region after they receive more spectroscopic data in July when New Horizons gets its closest to Pluto on or about July 14. That means the pictures of Pluto get clearer and better as the New Horizons spacecraft brings it closer to this faraway dwarf world.

Mission astronomers working the Pluto mission had first seen all the evidence of the surface differences, as well as other exciting details in April when the New Horizons craft got within about 113 kilometers and started to take pictures of Pluto and send them to Earth for study.

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New Pictures of Pluto Show Precise Features - Clapway