A New Horizons Ride Along and When to Expect New Pluto Images
Pluto true color

On July 14, New Horizons made history as it soared past the Pluto system at a blistering 31,000 miles per hour. During its closest approach, the spacecraft snapped images and gathered as much data as it could.

On Friday, NASA released a video from images stitched together during New Horizons’ fly by.

You can see New Horizons approach Pluto and its five moons. Charon is easy to make out as it’s the closest and largest moon. The white lines represent the orbit paths of Pluto’s four other moons – Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos.

Next, you see the now iconic closeup of Pluto and its surprisingly varied surface. A look back at Pluto shows its atmosphere glow as sunlight passes through it. As New Horizons barrels out of the Pluto system as fast as it entered, you can see the thin crescents of Pluto and Charon.

It’s pretty cool how similar Bjorn Jonsson’s animation is with NASA’s official release. Check out Jonsson’s video below.

New Horizons’ next stop? Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69.

New Pluto Images coming by the end of next week

The spectacular images of Pluto released in July were just a tiny part of the data stored on New Horizons. Principal Investigator Alan Stern announced recently data downloads will get started again by the end of this week. SpaceFlightNow’s Stephen Clark was at the Outer Planets Advisory group meeting where Stern made the announcement.

It’s crazy to think of all the info still stored billions of miles away from Earth. The New Horizons team won’t have all the data from the Pluto encounter until late 2016.

Before I wrap this up, what is your favorite New Horizons image of Pluto? Here’s mine:

New Horizons Pluto mountains

There’s just so much going on here. You have the mountain range extending north to south in the middle, the dark, cratered areas on the left and the surprisingly smooth surface on the right. Who knew Pluto would have such a varied terrain?

Image credits: NASA

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Your Daily Dose of the Best the Internet Has to Offer

You May Also Like

An Upgraded SpaceX Boat Will Try to Catch a Rocket Fairing During Wednesday’s Launch (UPDATE)

Tomorrow morning’s launch has all the SpaceX goodness we’ve come to expect.…

How You Can Create Stunning Jupiter Images With Juno Data

NASA’s Juno spacecraft is in the midst of another long 53-day orbit…

Crystal Clear Images of Neptune Show Power of Adaptive Optics

One of the most significant hurdles for astronomers using telescopes on Earth…

Hubble’s Powerful Optics Received a Gravity Assist to Spot a Single Star 9 Billion Light Years Away

Officially designated MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1 (nicknamed Icarus), this star is…

Opportunity Rover Will Try To Wake Up After A Nearly Three Month Dust Storm Nap

On May 30, NASA first detected the swirling dust storm that would…