NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has sent some breathtaking images of Pluto. The majestic icy mountains, streams of frozen nitrogen and haunting low-lying hazes create a surreal landscape of the dwarf planet at the edge of our Solar System.
New Horizons’ wide-angle Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) took the images on July 14 and downlinked to Earth on September 13.
The images offer an oblique look across Plutonian landscapes with dramatic backlighting from the sun.
This image is from just 15 minutes after the spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015.
And here is another look
This shows the larger crescent image of Pluto with the setting sun illuminating a fog or near-surface haze.
Sputnik Planum is the informal name of the smooth, light-bulb shaped region on the left of this composite taken of Pluto.
Ice (probably frozen nitrogen) appears to have accumulated on the uplands on the right side of this wide image.
And here is another view.
“This image really makes you feel you are there, at Pluto, surveying the landscape for yourself,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.