NASA's New Horizons snaps awesome glowing Blue Halo around Pluto | Tech News

NASA's New Horizons snaps awesome glowing Blue Halo around Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured an image of Pluto, which shows a blue halo glowing around the planet.

| Updated on: Feb 24 2023, 10:26 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the week: Comet ZTF, Hydra Galaxy Cluster, Airglow and more
1/5 Green Comet ZTF sweeps past Mars (Feb 13) - It is a picturesque image of Comet ZTF as it swept past Mars on February 10 and 11. Although the comet is no longer visible to teh naked eye, its picture was captured by astronomers as it appeared as a long faint object speeding away from the Sun. Its dust tail and ion tail were captured towards the bottom-right and the top of the image respectively. (NASA/Donato Lioce)
2/5 Heart and Soul Nebulae (Feb 14) - NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day on February 14 was a celebration of Valentine's Day in the form of the Heart and the Soul Nebulae which are located about 6000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia. Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen, one of three colors shown in this three-color montage. Light takes about 6,000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years.  (NASA/Juan Lozano de Haro)
3/5 Airglow (Feb 15) - NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb 15 was a stunning picture of Airglow in the skies over Château de Losse in southwest France. It wasn’t just airglow that was visible. Various celestial objects were also seen, including Orion Nebula, California Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Mars, Sirius, Pleiades Star Cluster and the Milky Way Galaxy.  (NASA/Julien Looten)
4/5 Hydra Galaxy Cluster (Feb 16) - Hydra Cluster of galaxies is one of the three large galaxy clusters within 200 million light-years of the Milky Way and it is surrounded by millions of stars. The galaxy cluster is over 100 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. Three large galaxies near the cluster center, two yellow ellipticals (NGC 3311, NGC 3309) and one prominent blue spiral (NGC 3312), are the dominant galaxies, each about 150,000 light-years in diameter. (NASA/Marco Lorenzi/Angus Lau/Tommy Tse)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 CX1 (Feb 17) - A 3.2 feet wide asteroid lit up the skies over Europe on February 12 as it turned into a fireball. The asteroid, named SAR 2667 or Asteroid 2023 CX1, turned into a fireball over the European skies where it was captured by astronomers and skywatchers. It was first discovered by Krisztian Sarneczky with a 2-foot telescope at Konkoly Observatory's Piszkesteto Station, located about 100 kilometers northeast from Budapest.   (NASA/Gijs de Reijke)
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New Horizons was 120,000 miles away from Pluto while taking this breathtaking shot of the dwarf planet. (NASA)

NASA has just revealed an amazing photo of Pluto with a blue halo glowing all around it. The image was captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft back on July 14, 2015. When this photo was taken, New Horizons was approximately 120000 miles or 200,000 kilometers from Pluto. What caused it? "The smog present in Pluto's atmosphere is thought to be a result of the reaction between sunlight and methane and other molecules," NASA said in a blog.

The space agency further explained that this process creates a complicated blend of hydrocarbons that accumulate into tiny haze particles, which disperse blue light. As these particles gradually descend through the atmosphere, they generate several complex horizontal layers that span heights of more than 120 miles, around 200 kilometers.

NASA also revealed that the image which is shown in approximate true colour was actually “constructed from a mosaic of six black-and-white images from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, with colour added from a lower resolution Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera colour image.”

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About NASA's New Horizons mission

New Horizons was launched back on January 19, 2006. It flew by Jupiter in February 2007 to gain a gravitational boost and conduct scientific research. During the summer of 2015, the spacecraft embarked on a six-month-long flyby study of Pluto and its moons, ultimately achieving its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015. According to NASA, the New Horizons mission is aiding comprehension of celestial bodies on the periphery of our solar system by carrying out the initial understanding of the dwarf planet Pluto and diving deep into the distant and mysterious Kuiper Belt.

The National Academy of Sciences has ranked the exploration of the Kuiper Belt, which includes Pluto, as the most important for studying the solar system. New Horizons, in general, aims to determine the place of Pluto and its moons in relation to other solar system objects such as Earth, Mars, Venus, and Mercury

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First Published Date: 24 Feb, 09:46 IST