Keeping you current

New Horizons Snaps a Final Shot of Pluto

So long, dwarf planet!

New Horizons snapped this parting shot of Pluto on July 15, 2015. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)
smithsonian.com

Since its stellar flyby, New Horizons may have moved on from Pluto, but it took one last picture before it left. Today, NASA released an image taken by the probe before it whizzed off into the solar system’s frigid outskirts.

In the picture, Pluto is backlit by the sun, and its hazy atmosphere creates a light ring around the dwarf planet, NASA said in the release. New Horizons took the picture around midnight on July 15, 2015. At the time, the robotic probe was 1.25 million miles away from the tiny former planet. Still, the image is detailed enough that if scientists zoom in they’ll be able to see structures as small as 12 miles across on Pluto’s surface.

About Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson

Helen Thompson writes about science and culture for Smithsonian. She's previously written for NPR, National Geographic News, Nature and others.

Read more from this author |
Tags

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus