PIA19686: Faces of Pluto


Faces of Pluto

Caption:

These images, taken by New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), show four different "faces" of Pluto as it rotates about its axis with a period of 6.4 days. All the images have been rotated to align Pluto's rotational axis with the vertical direction (up-down) on the figure, as depicted schematically in the upper left.

From left to right, the images were taken when Pluto's central longitude was 17, 63, 130, and 243 degrees, respectively. The date of each image, the distance of the New Horizons spacecraft from Pluto, and the number of days until Pluto closest approach are all indicated in the figure.These images show dramatic variations in Pluto's surface features as it rotates. When a very large, dark region near Pluto's equator appears near the limb, it gives Pluto a distinctly, but false, non-spherical appearance. Pluto is known to be almost perfectly spherical from previous data.

These images are displayed at four times the native LORRI image size, and have been processed using a method called deconvolution, which sharpens the original images to enhance features on Pluto. Deconvolution can occasionally introduce "false" details, so the finest details in these pictures will need to be confirmed by images taken from closer range in the next few weeks. All of the images are displayed using the same brightness scale.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Pluto
System Pluto
Target Type Dwarf Planet
Mission New Horizons
Instrument Host New Horizons
Host Type Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)
Detector
Extra Keywords Color, Visual
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-06-11
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19686
Identifier PIA19686