NASA Releases Photo of Pluto’s ‘Dark Side’


Forget the dark side of the moon (except the album… never forget that album), this photograph released last week by NASA shows you the dark side of a different celestial body: Pluto.

We’ve seen a bunch of different photos and photo mosaics of Pluto, culminating most recently with the most detailed photo of the dwarf planet’s surface that NASA says we’ll see “for a very long time.” But this image of Pluto’s “dark side” (not an actual dark side like the moon has, just the “dark side” that New Hozizons saw) offers a very different view.


Captured by the New Horizons spacecraft using its Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC), the photo was shot about 19 minutes after New Horizons’ closest approach to the dwarf planet. Pluto is seen in silhouette, with the sunlight “illuminat[ing] Pluto’s complex atmospheric haze layers” while simultaneously casting a crescent of light across the planet’s nitrogen ice plains and a mountain range informally named the Norgay Montes.

You can find out more about the image and see higher resolution versions—the full-res shot has a resolution of 1,400 feet per pixel—on NASA’s website here.

(via APOD)

Image credits: Photograph by NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI.