Looking back at Pluto with images like this gives New Horizons scientists information about Pluto’s hazes and surface properties that they can’t get from images taken on approach. The image was obtained by New Horizons’ Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) approximately 13,400 miles (21,550 kilometres) from Pluto, about 19 minutes after New Horizons’ closest approach. The image has a resolution of 1,400 feet (430 metres) per pixel. Pluto’s diameter is 1,475 miles (2,374 kilometres).
By combining data from two space observatories, astronomers have revealed something surprising: a 955-mile-wide dwarf planet named 2007 OR10 is significantly larger than previously thought. Although its 547-year-long elliptical orbit brings it nearly as close to the Sun as Neptune, 2007 OR10 is currently twice as far from the Sun as Pluto.
After a search for an outside funding source turned up empty, NASA plans to end observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope in January to conclude a 16-year mission that discovered exoplanets, studied galaxies in the ancient universe, and peered at planets and asteroids in our own Solar System.