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Charon NASA New Horizons Pluto

Two faces of Pluto

1 Jul, 2015

Pluto shows two remarkably different sides in these color images of the planet and its largest moon Charon taken by New Horizons on June 25 and June 27. The images were made from black-and-white images combined with lower-resolution color data. The left image shows the side of Pluto that will be seen at highest resolution when New Horizons makes its close approach on July 14. The hemisphere is dominated by a very dark region that extends along the equator. The right image is of the side that faces Charon; the most dramatic feature on this side of Pluto is a row of dark spots arranged along the equator. (The equator appears near the bottom of the images, as only about half of the planet is shown.)NASA releases photos that show Pluto’s two different faces. The right photo shows a series of four evenly spaced dark spots along the equator. The left photo shows the hemisphere the probe will view as it flies by.

It’s a real puzzle—we don’t know what the spots are, and we can’t wait to find out.