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Artwork of Pluto Seen from Charon

Artwork of Pluto Seen from Charon

F011/7884

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Illustration of the dwarf planet Pluto as it might appear from the surface of its biggest natural satellite, Charon. The New Horizons probe has revealed that Pluto is a ruddy red colour. In this depiction, Pluto's phase is new - i.e. the Sun is directly behind it. Therefore Pluto is only visible by the faint sunlight that Charon reflects back onto it from the Sun. However, the Sun shines through Pluto's thin atmosphere and reveals it as a faint ring framing the dwarf planet. Because Pluto and Charon are tidally locked, they keep the same face towards each other at all times, as the Moon does to the Earth. So if one stood on Charon (or Pluto) the other world would stay fixed in the sky - never setting or rising, but still cycling through its phases. And if one were on the 'wrong' hemisphere of Pluto (or Charon) one would never see the other world.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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