New Horizons Update

New Horizons sees Pluto and Charon. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

New Horizons sees Pluto and Charon. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This pair of unassuming white dots is Pluto and the moon Charon. The image was taken from 550 million miles which is further than we are from Jupiter. Believe it or not, New Horizons was launched in 2006 (19 Jan) and still has nearly two years to go before closest approach. That’s far!

At first glance this might not seem like much but in reality this is a very impressive image. Pluto and Charon are seem clearly seperated for the first time by the New Horizons LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and then when you consider Charon only being the size of Texas, well need I say more?

The images were taken earlier this month on July 1 and July 3 with an exposure of 0.1 seconds. I consider that a feat unto itself, although I don’t know how many times they tried before they got the exposure correct. Yeah plaentary photography is very difficult here on the ground, I can hardly imagine, but hey that’s what these people do and they are very-very good at it.

So, to read more about this visit the New Horizons webpage.

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