Image of the Month: Pluto

18-04-28 BLOG PlutoWe are in a great era of space explo­ration. This mag­nif­i­cent photo of Pluto (colour-enhanced, but oth­er­wise a true visual image) was taken by the New Hori­zons probe, which is now more than six bil­lion kms from Earth. New Hori­zons, launched in 2006, is enter­ing the vast outer regions of our solar sys­tem, which we are dis­cov­er­ing is far big­ger and more com­plex than was ever imag­ined. The heart-shaped plain called Sput­nik Plani­tia is an ocean of nitro­gen ice, which is semi-fluid and shows dynamic fea­tures sim­i­lar to those that occur in polar pack-ice on Earth. Adja­cent to it is a moun­tain­ous region charm­ingly named Cthulhu Mac­ula, which seems to be coloured by hydro­car­bon tars.

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