Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 17, 2015

Sputnik Planum and Surroundings
Sputnik Planum and Surroundings

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

This beautiful picture is, in fact, an Image-Mosaic which has been created by using (---> putting together) several High-Resolution frames of the Dwarf-Planet Pluto, that were all sent back to Earth by the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft in the days going from September 5 to 7, 2015. The mosaic, as you can easily see, is dominated by the bright Icy Plains which have (so far) been informally named Sputnik Planum.

However, the Image-Mosaic also features (---> shows) a tremendous variety of other (and, Geologically speaking, completely different) Landscapes that surrounds Sputnik Planum (---> such as a number of areas of Pluto which we have already shown you in the APODs of Semptember 14, 15 and 16, 2015).

The smallest visible Surface Features here are roughly 0,5 miles (such as approx. 0,80467 Km) across, and the Mosaic - in its entirety - covers a Plutonian Region that is about 1000 miles (such as, roughly, 1609,34 Km) wide. The images forming the Mosaic were taken as the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015, from a distance of about 50.000 miles (such as approx. 80.467 Km).

The image (which is an Original NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19936) 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 ahead, towards 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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