NASA Captures Rainbow-Hued Pluto From The Edge Of Our Solar System

Posted: Dec 28 2015, 10:27pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

NASA Captures Pluto from the Edge of our Solar System
Credit: NASA/ New Horizons

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NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recorded a spectacular rainbow Pluto. The movie makes us feel as we are looking out at Pluto through a stained glass window.

NASA’s New Horizons captured some of the most incredible images of Pluto and its moon Charon over the years.

When New Horizons made a close flyby of Pluto’s surface July this year, it found surreal geological diversity, substantial variations in color composition and puzzling patterns and pits.

But an instrument, called LEISA, has done something even more remarkable. It has recorded the first ever video of Pluto from the edge of our solar system.

LEISA is a New Horizon’s infrared imaging spectrometer that takes images like a normal 2D camera but through linear variable filters. One side of the camera can only see specific wavelengths of infrared light while the rows of colored pixels show subtly different wavelengths.

The instrument maps the distribution of ice and other materials across Pluto and its moon and the linear filter attached to it provides a fine measurement of spectrum in a region, making the instrument highly dependable for exploring deep space missions and mapping absolutely static objects in space.

The movie that emerges as a result is something like we are on board the New Horizon’s spacecraft and looking outside through a stained glass window designed for infrared eyes.

It was recorded during the historic and closest flyby on July 14 while drifting across the Pluto. It was sped up approximately 17 times from its row frame and remapped the video into human visual spectrum to make it visible for human eye and to show the motion smoothly.

The team of researchers at New Horizons is analyzing this and other movies recorded by LEISA to further understand the composition of Pluto and Charon and how their surfaces have changed over time.

Source: New Horizons Blog

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