New Horizons Sees First Features on Pluto

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Drakkith

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wabbit

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Wow. Not much detail here yet but aren't we seeing the tidal lock of Pluto in action in this movie ? The more I look at it the more obvious it seems.
 

Drakkith

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It does sorta look like it. I hadn't noticed before.
 

wabbit

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Actually, great as these images are, their title seems overstated, Hubble showed surface features before. I guess they mean "first time for New Horizon".
 

Drakkith

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I believe that is the intended message. :wink:

Interestingly, New Horizons' images are now more detailed than the HST's.
 

wabbit

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Hmm not quite yet from what I see, I don't think they beat that yet though it's only a matter of time :

421589main_p1006aw-540.jpg
 
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Wow. Not much detail here yet but aren't we seeing the tidal lock of Pluto in action in this movie ? The more I look at it the more obvious it seems.
The rotation axis is a bit tilted against the view (see the changing apparent distance between Pluto and Charon), so we still see something new.
Not much to see. One area looks darker, in agreement with the reconstruction from Hubble images. Anyway, we'll see more in two months.
 

wabbit

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Oh two months ? I was kinda hoping for something earlier.. but I suppose you can't force celestial mechanics to play by the rules of live TV shows : )

Yes I noticed the elliptical apparent orbit, was trying to eyeball the focii but to no avail I'm afraid. I convinced myself it was centered but this may as well be self delusion. It does look so though with a major axis about 25 % longer than minor ?
 
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Drakkith

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Hmm not quite yet from what I see, I don't think they beat that yet though it's only a matter of time :
The article is the one claiming that the resolution is higher. Plus I think your image is derived from a number of much lower quality images. I know for a fact that the HST can't see Pluto anywhere close to the resolution shown in the image.
 

wabbit

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Right they must mean better optical resolution.
Found something that looks like a single image from HST, perhaps not the best one but it isn't close
PIA00827_modest.jpg
 
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The Hubble "image" is a computer-generated model to fit several images, right.

Oh two months ? I was kinda hoping for something earlier.
Well, Pluto diameter in pixels is roughly inversely proportional to the time to fly-by, which is ~2.5 months away. In 1 month we get images with roughly twice the resolution. That will look something like the model from Hubble but for every image, which allows to make better composite images.
 

wabbit

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In the meantime they might also work the same magic as HST to do a nice composite - not much point maybe but it would be fun : )
 

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