Photo: Sharpest Ever Images of ‘Icy and Dark’ Pluto


NASA today released the most detailed images to date of Pluto:

"The images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show an icy and dark molasses-colored, mottled world that is undergoing seasonal changes in its surface color and brightness. Pluto has become significantly redder, while its illuminated northern hemisphere is getting brighter. These changes are most likely consequences of surface ices sublimating on the sunlit pole and then refreezing on the other pole as the dwarf planet heads into the next phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle. The dramatic change in color apparently took place in a two-year period, from 2000 to 2002.

The Hubble images will remain our sharpest view of Pluto until NASA's New Horizons probe is within six months of its Pluto flyby. The Hubble pictures are proving invaluable for picking out the planet's most interesting-looking hemisphere for the New Horizons spacecraft to swoop over when it flies by Pluto in 2015."


  1. says

    fascinating! we’ve always thought that Pluto was just an icy, craggy barely-larger asteroid-type body. i understand the soccer ball/40 mile analogy, but with Hubble able to peer so far into the universe, it’s able to see light from less than a billion years after the Big Bang, i would have thought that anything in our own solar system could be seen with crystal clarity. i thought wrong [as usual!].

Leave A Reply