June 29, 2022

NASA shares photo of the ‘hidden side’ of Pluto illuminated by its largest satellite

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NASA scientists have shared an image of the “hidden side” of Pluto taken by the New Horizons space probe.

In July 2015, the device passed near the southern hemisphere of the dwarf planet. The researchers compiled an image based on 360-degree images taken at the time.

The image shows a portion of Pluto’s landscape that was not directly illuminated by sunlight, but was illuminated by reflected rays from its largest satellite, Charon, which is why the team called this area the “hidden side” of Pluto. release to NASA.

Scientists were able to observe the area between South Pole of Pluto and the equator. They consider that there may be nitrogen deposits or methane ice. The light reflected from Charon was as bright as the light from the Moon on Earth in the four crescent phase, that is, when the angle of the Earth, Moon and Sun is 90 degrees, so we only see half of the Moon’s disk.
But reconstructing the details of the image was not an easy task. lit by the distant sun, Dark atmosphere of Pluto It can be seen as a glowing ring of light around the hidden side of Pluto.

NASA’s News Horizons spacecraft team has captured images of a portion of Pluto’s terrain that was not directly illuminated by sunlight — what the team calls the “hidden side” of Pluto.

However, scientists were able to determine that the southern region of the dwarf planet is covered with dark matter, in sharp contrast to the lighter surface of the northern hemisphere.

When this pass was made, from its prime position, the New Horizons spacecraft was essentially able to observe Pluto’s southern hemisphere, much of which was in transition into the darkness of seasonal winter—just like dark arctic winter and Antarctica on Earth, except that on Pluto each season lasts 62 years on Earth.

The team suggests that during the summer season, nitrogen and methane ice in the south may have sublimated into vapor and dark fog particles falling over the area.