Plu­to’s north­ern hemi­sphere in colour – ‘red­dish brown’ dwarf plan­et

Plu­to’s north­ern hemi­sphere in colour – ‘red­dish brown’ dwarf plan­et
Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI).

Pluto’s northern hemisphere in colour – ‘reddish brown’ dwarf planet

As­tronomers have on­ly been able to get a very vague idea of the sur­face of Plu­to us­ing ground-based ob­ser­va­to­ries and im­ages ac­quired by the Hub­ble Space Tele­scope. This first map of the north­ern hemi­sphere of Plu­to is de­rived from da­ta ac­quired by New Hori­zons dur­ing the ap­proach phase, from a dis­tance of more than 10 mil­lion kilo­me­tres; they show the dwarf plan­et in near true colour. High-res­o­lu­tion monochrome im­ages from the LOR­RI in­stru­ment were used to pro­duce the an­i­ma­tion on the left. The map pro­jec­tion on the right in­cludes colour in­for­ma­tion from the cam­era sys­tem Ralph. For the cen­tre an­i­ma­tion, both da­ta sets were com­bined.

Astronomers have only been able to get a very vague idea of the surface of Pluto using ground-based observatories and images acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope. This first map of the northern hemisphere of Pluto is derived from data acquired by New Horizons during the approach phase, from a distance of more than 10 million kilometres; they show the dwarf planet in near true colour. High-resolution monochrome images from the LORRI instrument were used to produce the animation on the left. The map projection on the right includes colour information from the camera system Ralph. For the centre animation, both data sets were combined.

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