The first color movies from NASA's New Horizons mission show Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, and the complex orbital dance of the two bodies, known as a double planet. This near-true color movie was assembled from images made in three colors -- blue, red and near-infrared -- by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera on the instrument known as Ralph. The images were taken on nine different occasions from May 29-June 3, 2015.
The movie is barycentric, meaning that both Pluto and Charon are shown in motion around the binary's barycenter -- the shared center of gravity between the two bodies as they do a planetary jig. Because Pluto is much more massive than Charon, the barycenter (marked by a small "x" in the movie) is much closer to Pluto than to Charon. Looking closely at the images in this movie, one can detect a regular shift in Pluto's brightness-due to the brighter and darker terrains on its differing faces.
|Target Type||Dwarf Planet||Satellite|
|Instrument Host||New Horizons|
|Host Type||Flyby Spacecraft|
|Instrument||Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC)|
|Extra Keywords||Color, Infrared, Movie|
|Date in Caption||2015-06-03|
|Image Credit||NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute|