Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 16, 2015

Icy Mountains and Plains on Pluto
Icy Mountains and Plains on Pluto

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

A newly discovered Mountain Range lies near the South/Western margin of Pluto’s heart-shaped "Tombaugh Regio" (---> the C. Tombaugh Region), situated between bright and yellow/pinkish (---> frozen Surfacing Hydrocarbons, mixed with Sulphur and Water Ice maybe?), Icy Plains and a dark, heavily-Cratered Terrain.


This image was acquired by The New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (or "LORRI", for short) on July 14, 2015, from a distance of approx. 48.000 miles (such as about 77.248,199 Km), and sent back to Earth on July 20. Surface Features as small as a half-mile (approx. 0,80467 Km) across are visible.

These frozen Peaks are estimated to be about one-half mile to one mile (such as from 0,80467 up to 1,60934 Km) high, which means about the same height as the United States’ Appalachian Mountains. The Norgay Montes (---> the Norgay Mountains) were discovered by the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft on July 15, and they closely approximate the height of the taller Rocky Mountains. Please, remember that the names of the Surface Features of Pluto have all - so far - been given on an informal basis by the New Horizons Team.


The image (which is an Original NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - New Horizons Mission Page - Science Photos - see, if you wish, http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Multimedia/Science-Photos/image.php?page=1&gallery_id=2&image_id=242) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, Gamma corrected and then colorized (according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga-LXTT-IPF) in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft and then looked down, towards the Surface of the Dwarf-Planet Pluto), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.



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