What we know about Pluto today could fit on the back of a postage stamp. -Colleen Hartman
Part of the joy of astronomy is, every once in a while, you just get an astoundingly beautiful new picture or video of a foreign planet, star, galaxy or cluster. Pluto, the most distant planet, is among the most elusive.
This picture above was snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope about a decade ago, and shows us Pluto (center) with its large moon Charon and its two smaller moons, Nix and Hydra.
It’s pretty difficult to get better resolution pictures of that planet because Pluto is both so far away and so tiny. There was an attempt to image surface details on Pluto back in 1996 using Hubble, and the results were only marginal.
I’m always disappointed when I have to show an artist’s rendition, though, so I was reluctant to even try. I just found out today that new pictures were released, and so I was licking my lips in anticipation.
What’s awesome about this? They weren’t just able to image Pluto’s surface, they were able to image the surface as the planet rotated, which means we can see what the surface of the planet looks like everywhere! Check it out, and click to enlarge!
But the most spectacular thing I’ve been able to find about this? A high-resolution video of Pluto rotating, made from a whole slew of images stitched together digitally. Want to see what Pluto looks like as it spins? Just watch.