NASA's New Horizons returns full view of Pluto's stunning crescent

Scientists behind the New Horizons mission have processed the entire image to reveal a breathtaking full view of Pluto.  

Updated: Oct 30, 2015, 11:37 AM IST
NASA's New Horizons returns full view of Pluto's stunning crescent
Photo credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Washington: The US space agency NASA has released a stunning, yet entire view of Pluto's crescent taken by the New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby in July this year.

Also Read: Rosetta space probe detects oxygen on comet 67P

Earlier in September, the New Horizons team presented us a stunning but incomplete image of Pluto’s crescent. Now, scientists behind the New Horizons mission have processed the entire image to reveal a breathtaking full view of Pluto.

New Horizons snapped this image just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image was taken with New Horizons' Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) from a distance of 11,000 miles away when New Horizons looked back at Pluto toward the Sun.

The resolution is 700 meters (0.4 miles).

Also Read: Scott Kelly completes first spacewalk, sets US flight record

The photo shows the deep haze layers of the Pluto's atmosphere, as well as the mountains on the dwarf planet's surface that surround the icy plains of Sputnik Planum.

According to NASA, the New Horizons spacecraft has now moved 127 million km beyond Pluto and completed a third successful maneuver in its effort to reach a Kuiper Belt Object known as 2014 MU69.

If all goes well, the spacecraft is expected to reach the KBO on January 1, 2019.