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Surface of Pluto, Hubble image

Surface of Pluto, Hubble image

C023/3795

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Credit

NASA / ESA / SRI (M. BUIE) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / SRI (M. BUIE) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Hubble Space Telescope images of the surface of the dwarf planet Pluto. These images are composites of images taken between 2002 and 2003 when Pluto was at an average distance of approximately 3 billion kilometres from Earth. The view isn't detailed enough to show surface features such as craters, but different types of terrain do show as different colours. The darker areas are probably where sunlight is breaking up the methane on the surface, leaving a carbon-rich residue. Lighter areas are probably still covered in this ice. Pluto, which used to be a planet, was demoted to the status of dwarf planet in August 2006. Images obtained by Hubble's High Resolution Channel (HRC) instrument on the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

Release details

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