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).
Now less than three weeks away from its historic rendezvous with dwarf planet Ceres, the latest images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft show a myriad of craters and mysterious bright spots on the tiny world.
Data collected by NASA’s New Horizons probe and ESA’s Rosetta mission suggest Pluto might have formed from the accretion of a billion or so smaller bodies similar to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and other Kuiper Belt objects.