NASA’s New Horizons provided some phenomenal photos of Pluto last month, and there’s still plenty more information to come from the industrious spacecraft. But until that information is beamed back over the next several months, why not ride shotgun and re-live the historic flyby?
Using the images taken by New Horizons and some enviable imaging skills, Bjorn Jonsson put together an amazing animated visualization of what it would have been like to zoom past the distant dwarf planet. It’s a breathtaking encounter, one that highlights the incredible beauty of our solar system. Look as the planet’s heart comes into full view, and then as the spacecraft looks back to snap a beautiful silhouette.
Here’s what Jonsson had to say about his animation:
An animation showing the New Horizons Pluto flyby on July 14, 2015. The time covered is 09:35 to 13:35 (closest approach occurred near 11:50). Pluto’s atmosphere is included and should be fairly realistic from about 10 seconds into the animation and to the end. Earlier it is largely just guesswork that can be improved in the future once all data has been downlinked from the spacecraft. Light from Pluto’s satellite Charon illuminates Pluto’s night side but is exaggerated here, in reality it would be only barely visible or not visible at all. The field of view is 12.5 degrees.
You can’t really get the full experience by simply reading about the animation, so just watch it and experience what it would be like to cruise by Pluto. It’s one of those instances where words do no justice.