Image(s) of the Day: A day in the life of Pluto and Charon

Contributed by
Dec 8, 2015, 10:28 AM EST

Here's a stunning series of recently downlinked composite images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, captured during New Horizons' approach last July, with each astral body rotating over the course of a full day.  


Pluto’s and Charon's single days are both equal to 6.4 Earth days, and NASA's New Horizons team combined the best possible images to create these amazing full-rotation photos. The shots were taken by the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera as the distance between New Horizons and Pluto decreased from 5 million miles on July 7 to 400,000 miles on July 13.

The now-familiar “encounter hemispheres,” or the detailed sides best seen by the intrepid probe during its closest pass on July 14, sit at the 6 o’clock position for Pluto (above) and the 12 o'clock position for Charon (below).  Take some time out from your day to check out one from the far reaches of our solar system.


(Via NASA/New Horizons)