New Horizons Sees First Features on Pluto

In summary, the new images from the New Horizons space probe show surface features on Pluto for the first time.
  • #1
Drakkith
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From here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astr...sees_surface_features_for_the_first_time.html

"At a press conference on Wednesday astronomers working on the New Horizons space probe revealed new images that show surface features on Pluto for the first time!"

newhorizons_plutospin_apr2015.gif
 
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  • #2
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.
 
  • #3
It does sort of look like it. I hadn't noticed before.
 
  • #4
Actually, great as these images are, their title seems overstated, Hubble showed surface features before. I guess they mean "first time for New Horizon".
 
  • #5
I believe that is the intended message. :wink:

Interestingly, New Horizons' images are now more detailed than the HST's.
 
  • #6
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
 
  • #7
wabbit said:
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.
 
  • #8
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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  • #9
wabbit said:
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.
 
  • #10
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
 
  • #11
The Hubble "image" is a computer-generated model to fit several images, right.

wabbit said:
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.
 
  • #13
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 : )
 
  • #14
Drakkith said:
See here, Wabbit: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~buie/pluto/mapstory.html
It tells the story of how the surface maps of Pluto were made and has a series of images from the HST.
Great, thanks !

Edit. Impressive processing, the single images look more or less similar the the NH pictures.
 

Related to New Horizons Sees First Features on Pluto

What is the significance of New Horizons seeing the first features on Pluto?

The New Horizons spacecraft is the first and only mission to explore the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons in detail. The images and data collected by New Horizons have greatly expanded our understanding of this distant and mysterious world, providing a wealth of new information about its geology, atmosphere, and history.

What are some of the features that New Horizons has discovered on Pluto?

New Horizons has revealed a diverse landscape on Pluto, including mountains, glaciers, valleys, and vast plains. The spacecraft has also captured images of numerous craters, some of which are filled with exotic ices, as well as evidence of past geological activity such as tectonic fractures and possible cryovolcanism.

How did New Horizons capture these images of Pluto?

New Horizons used its suite of seven science instruments, including cameras and spectrometers, to capture high-resolution images and collect data from Pluto and its moons during its flyby in July 2015. The spacecraft was able to get as close as 7,800 miles to Pluto's surface, providing the most detailed views of the dwarf planet to date.

What can we learn from these images of Pluto?

The images and data collected by New Horizons have allowed scientists to study the geological processes and composition of Pluto and its moons, as well as gain insight into the evolution and formation of these distant worlds. They have also provided a better understanding of the outer solar system and its origins.

What are the future plans for New Horizons and its mission to explore Pluto?

New Horizons is currently continuing its journey through the Kuiper Belt, the region of our solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune. The spacecraft has already flown by and studied one small object in the Kuiper Belt, and it is expected to encounter several more in the coming years. The data and images collected from these distant objects will further expand our understanding of the outer solar system and its inhabitants.

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