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Published on Jul 1, 2015
What’s cool about Pluto? Get a quick peek at the latest science in this daily update from NASA’s New Horizons mission, on track for a flight past Pluto on July 14, 2015.
Pluto is two-faced! But in a good way. This is Pluto in a Minute. New images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have revealed two very different faces of Pluto. These images use multiple data sources. The reflectivity comes from the LORRI long-range imaging camera while the colour data comes from the Ralph instrument. In these images, North is up but canted ever so slightly towards you when you’re looking at the picture, and the equator lies somewhere about this region. This is the face that New Horizons will image during the flyby. The most notable feature on this face is the bright spot, something scientists have known about for years. It’s clearly visible in Earth-based telescopes as well as in images from the Hubble space telescope. Another interesting feature on this face is the darker band on the equatorial region. The other face of Pluto is a bit of a different story. This is the farside hemisphere that faces the moon Charon. The most notable feature on this face is the four dark regions near the equator. Each spot is about 200 to 300 miles across making each one roughly the size of the state of Missouri. For more on the latest from Pluto check out the mission’s websites, and follow the hashtag #PlutoFlyBy for all the updates on Twitter. And of course, be sure to come back here tomorrow for more Pluto in a Minute. To learn more about the mission visit: