NASA has released a stunning new image of Pluto’s crescent, further revealing the beauty of the beast we saw in the panorama in September. What the image lacks in finer details more than makes up for in splendor, presenting a terrific look at the lonely planet as the sun gently kisses its icy surface. Go home, New Horizons, you’ve really outdone yourself this time.
“This image was made just 15 minutes after New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, as the spacecraft looked back at Pluto toward the sun,” NASA explained. “The wide-angle perspective of this view shows the deep haze layers of Pluto’s atmosphere extending all the way around Pluto, revealing the silhouetted profiles of rugged plateaus on the night (left) side.”
We’ve learned all manner of information since New Horizons’ historic flyby of Pluto earlier this summer. Not only have images revealed the planet’s surface features enormous mountains and deep valleys, but the color of the sky is blue. Not something you would have expected from the distant planet, which seems to surprise us with every new piece of data NASA receives.
New Horizons is going to continue sending back bits of data over the next several months, and if the image above is what we can expect, the trip to our solar system’s least understood planet will have been worth it.