NASA Releases Rainbow-hued Images of Pluto

Last Updated: 4 November, 2016

NASA released the images of the icy surface of the dwarf planet earlier this month, and now the New Horizons probe exploring the new world has sent a collection of infrared images during its flyby of Pluto.

New Horizons’ infrared imaging spectrometer records shots of the icy world just like a normal camera (256×256 pixels), but when it passes through a linearly varying filter, it produces a stained glass window effect, like in the video you see below. The variations of absorption of specific chemicals from Pluto’s icy methane surface creates a dark band, however, the dark bands disappears when the probe slides by some terrains as the chemical responsible for the absorption is absent.

If you were on the probe on July 14th, you would have seen the color patterns of Pluto through the probe’s infrared eyes. The water ice on Pluto was confirmed with the infrared scans of New Horizons and these data (images of Charon) will help scientists further understand how Pluto and its moon Charon have evolved over time.

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