The new images reveal that Pluto has several layers to its global atmospheric haze, which according to Nasa, “creates a twilight effect that softly illuminates nightside terrain near sunset”. Now, New Horizons is way beyond Pluto, journeying to another object at edge of the Solar System. No human has ever done it, to date only one spacecraft has: New Horizons, two years ago this month. Little is known about the Kuiper Belt since its existence was predicted by Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper in 1973, and New Horizons is expected to go far into the region, at least a billion miles beyond the orbit of Neptune, the planet furthest from the Sun in the solar system.
Sputnick, the dark, cratered terrain of Cthulhu Macula, the rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra, the pits of Pioneer Terra and the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa all feature.
“The view moves north, passing over Dorothy Gale crater and the dark polar hood of Mordor Macula”. Some astronomers believe there may be a mysterious Planet Nine in the outer reaches of the solar system, but its existence has not yet been confirmed. The 2015 flyby collected more than 1,200 images-including a striking image of a heart-shaped formation on the dwarf planet’s surface-and 10 gigabits of data.
It might not be a planet anymore, but Pluto is still a pretty interesting place.
Created using data from the New Horizons spacecraft and digital models of Pluto, the space agency on Friday offered new looks at far-out body and its moon Charon. Transparent, colorized stereo topography data generated for the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon have been overlain on the mosaics. However, its work in space isn’t over yet.
According to New Horizons data released late previous year, “Pluto’s Heart” may hold an exciting huge ocean of slushy water ice.
Combined, the pre-positioned mobile telescopes captured more than 100,000 images of the occultation star that can be used to assess the environment around this Kuiper Belt object (KBO). It aims to pass an object labelled 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.