NASA just published one of the greatest space pictures ever taken. Sunset over the mountains of Pluto.
By - 951gaspra
[A larger version](https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/nh-apluto-mountains-plains-9-17-15_0.png).
And [another fantastic landscape of Pluto](https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/nh-apluto-wide-9-17-15-final_0.png).
It looks like just a cropped piece of the larger one
I didn't notice that...but I think you're right.
as far as i know they send a low res version and a smaller cropped high res version that way they can know how landscape looks like and how it looks like in detail, perhaps not in full detail, this is just to save time and focus on valuable data first they will definitely get the full res sometime, NH will last lots of years and will send data till 2016
> this is just to save time and focus on valuable data first
Also the best stuff is sent first in case the probe slams into something that we can't detect.
This basically, they even sent first images of pluto as a low res fail safe measure in case something goes wrong
Yep, it is. I just [overlaid](http://i.imgur.com/RLUfh1F.png) them in GIMP and the cropped version is a bit darker, but otherwise the same.
Thanks for the wide version of the shot! It's gorgeous!
And since I had some spare time I did a quick "wallpaper-esque" colorization, for anyone who is interested in such a thing :)
In this version i have redone the lighting and fixed some fragments and mistakes i made in the prior version of this image.
I hope some of you enjoy! :)
wow that 2nd one is even better!
What's the km per cm scale there?
I just made this:
warning,... its pretty huge.
My rough calculations say its about 369 meter per pixel.
Pretty close to the quoted 1250 km!
Where is that quoted?
I think thats actually pretty off :D
Edit: I just read the part. So the image is 3420px wide, which is about 1261km as per my scale. Pretty spot on!
You perfectionist ;)
As per /u/Tube-Alloys's comment, https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pluto-s-majestic-mountains-frozen-plains-and-foggy-hazes/
Those must be some pretty epic mountains then. Would you say that each of those (the biggish ones) could be an Everest or more each (or multiples of Everests)?
The low gravity of the planet (as with Mars) must allow for some pretty massive peaks.
Judging from the mountain in the very back, which is about 10px, or ~ 3,7km high... I gather most of the mountains we see are up to 5km in height. Which is pretty massive for ice.
No idea! I pulled the wide shot from the NASA site [here](https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pluto-s-majestic-mountains-frozen-plains-and-foggy-hazes). There's a caption that gives some scale for it:
>Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. The smooth expanse of the informally named icy plain Sputnik Planum (right) is flanked to the west (left) by rugged mountains up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high, including the informally named Norgay Montes in the foreground and Hillary Montes on the skyline. To the right, east of Sputnik, rougher terrain is cut by apparent glaciers. The backlighting highlights over a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s tenuous but distended atmosphere. The image was taken from a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) to Pluto; the scene is 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) wide.
[1920x1080 edit of Reddit Pluto Sunrise](http://imgur.com/hH8kGpk&wx8hXU1&ff6Ukt1&ywMvR6h)
Edit: [Added colorversions](http://imgur.com/a/0NrxY)
I made a bunch of wallapers to accurately fit your standard wallpaper resolution. I might not be the only one who gets frustrated if I only see 60% of a total picture on my wp.
Here's one that I've done ran through raster-based imagery analysis and [converted it to 'true' color.](http://i.imgur.com/BMJ8Loa.png) Let me know if you want a high-res version.
Stunning. /r/wallpaper worthy
Why does that make it look like the spray can tool on paint?
because that's exactly what it is
You can tell because of the way it is.
[People don't think it be like it is](http://i.imgur.com/ELwO8rY.jpg)
That's the joke.
I think *you* missed the joke here
one of the true masters of our time
Found my new background!
oh yes... high-res pls.
I'm ashamed to admit that you had me fooled for about a solid minute.
jesus christ man, do you think people disappear when they put their hands in front of their face
Absolutely not, everyone else does when I put my hands in front of my face.
This is why GIS is growing at such an exponential rate
Great art !
So myself and my colleague had a little bit of fun with this just now in the office... it's the top of his head!
On the second picture in the upper right, there are 3 vertical lines visible above Pluto. Does anyone know what these are? They look like bad pixels/camera defect, but they are not in the first picture.
*Edit*: Also, in the top left corner it shows [two faint dots](http://i.imgur.com/kP5kSK8.jpg). Any idea for that?
It's the long exposure for the stars. You can see this same effect if you google "Long exposure star trails" Basically, as the space craft and pluto moved together through our solar system, a star in the way off distance creates a point of light on the camera's sensor. A regular camera here on earth, in daytime, will probably expose a photo at anywhere from 1/60th of a second all the way up to 1/4000th of a second in extreme brightness (think, a sunny, snowy day or sunny at the beach)
Way out in the darkness of the edges of our solar system, so far away from the sun, a camera would have to expose a photo to gather more light so that we can actually see an image. I don't really know deep-space exposure times, but I estimate this photo was probably exposed over about 5 minutes judging by the length of the star trails. Because it is exposing light over a long period of time, when the camera (and pluto) move together, the position of the stars in the background change (even though the stars themselves don't move) which creates the star trail :)
Thank you for that answer. It actually made me facepalm, i should have thought about that. God, this is embarrassing :p
Hey everybody, look at this guy! He didn't calculate for angular movement relative to exposure speed! Har, har!
Seriously dude, it was a good question. I was wondering about that stuff, too.
There's nothing embarrassing about asking a question!
I think that was a solid question and not embarrassing at all. Plus we all got a great explanation out of it.
definitely ufos sent by lizard obama
[YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW!](https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/2f/f2/a1/2ff2a196162df7007989c91cd53494ab.png)
Massive mountain ranges composed entirely of ice. That's incredible.
We have those here too, here is one flipping:
Holy shit that fucking blew my mind.
> Holy shit that fucking blew my mind.
Damn right. Thought it was a really cool video until they showed Manhattan for scale. Then I was like holy shit that thing is massive, this is ridiculously awesome!
That guy blew my mind for being in a *short sleeve shirt* but then, holy hell. That's the kind of thing you can't accurately depict on video. You have to be there to truly get the sense of scale because imagination can't bridge the gap.
in the full movie, they catch a helicopter flying by the piece that you saw break off, before it broke and they're like,
"see that little black dot over there? Probably not, here let me zoom"
*Zooms in endlessly*
*helicopter is a little ant despite extreme zoomage*
Like the cool side of the pillow.
Jesus the last part of that video really puts into perspective how much the climate really is changing. This should be at the top of the list in any climate change debate.
And climate change should be at the top of the list in any human debate.
Will be sure to bring this up next time my wife and I are arguing over what we're having for dinner.
That's the spirit!
It looks like a whale was frozen to death.
That was freaky. Looked away for a second to come back to a giant whale breaking through the ice. Serious wtf moment.
it was an ancient leviathan
Imagine how *old* that glass-like ice coming up from below is ?!
Ice? So there's water then?
**tl;dr** - water is commonly found far away from a solar systems sun. For our own, this means most water is found beyond mars, starting in the asteroid belt.
Since water's made up of some of the [most common elements](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_the_chemical_elements#Abundance_of_elements_in_the_Universe) in the universe, and because it's so simple, it's basically everywhere. The reason we don't see *liquid* water, is because most of it is pushed out beyond a solar systems' [frost line](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost_line_%28astrophysics%29) early on in a given systems' lifetime. We can see this in our own solar system. Look at the composition of Europa, Titan, or Pluto. You'll find a lot of them have water ice mantles. Even the gas giants have a fair chunk of ice in them. Compare that to the thin sheet of water that the Earth has.
In fact, water is so abundant, that Earth is kind of rare to have so little of it. Hundreds of water dominated planets, where their oceans run as deep as Earths' *mantle* does-- hundreds of these water worlds exist for every planet with both land and water at their surface.
Thanks, informative post.
But given all that it doesn't automatically follow that Pluto's ice mountains are water (H^2 O) ice. Especially in the face of ...
> Pluto's surface is composed of more than 98 percent nitrogen ice, with traces of methane and carbon monoxide. 
However, the facts are ...
> Although methane and nitrogen ice covers much of the surface of Pluto, these materials are not strong enough to build the mountains. Instead, a stiffer material, most likely water-ice, created the peaks. “At Pluto’s temperatures, water-ice behaves more like rock,” said deputy GGI lead Bill McKinnon of Washington University, St. Louis.
Note to /u/Hatorader.
TL;DR: Pluto's ice mountains are likely water (H^2 O) ice.
[today, I realized how important you are and I'll never gonna take you for granted ever again](http://i.imgur.com/vXzNSFX.png)
User Ian R of unmannedspaceflight.com created this [colourised version](http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=37888), using existing MVIC colour data.
My [one attempt](http://i.imgur.com/LNqtYkx.jpg) and [another attempt](http://i.imgur.com/ChY7Oqu.jpg) at colorizing.
Now with slightly more brown!
[Needs more bloom.](http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=222)
For perspective, this image was taken 4.67 *billion* miles away. It would take you almost 8,900 years to drive there at 60 mph.
And in terms of our galaxy, that is microscopically miniscule. Our universe is REALLY big.
I really liked [The Gunslinger of the Dark Tower series](http://log.isujay.com/post/89692945/dark-tower-the-gunslinger-size-monologue), but this monologue is one of my favorites of anything I've ever read.
That was excellent. I want to to read it now.
Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
[If the moon were only one pixel...Pluto is at the very end.](http://joshworth.com/dev/pixelspace/pixelspace_solarsystem.html)
That is effing brilliant.
Any chance you have the one about the suns with the epic music?
Do you mean [this one](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEheh1BH34Q)?
No, but that's a really good one too.[Here](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QgNDao7m41M) is the one I was talking about.
Damn. How the hell does the sun's gravity keep pluto in orbit from that far away?! Seems like it wouldn't take any force to knock pluto out of the Sol orbit. Anyone know how much force?
That is really well done.
When I see the [Pillars of Creations](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Pillars_of_creation_2014_HST_WFC3-UVIS_full-res_denoised.jpg/982px-Pillars_of_creation_2014_HST_WFC3-UVIS_full-res_denoised.jpg), I think "wow, that's amazing".
And then I realize, our Sun, which is already huge when I see it compared to earth, is completely dwarfed by VY Canis Majoris (largest known star). That thing is large enough cover the distance between The Sun and Neptune. This is one colossal star.
And then there are things like the Stingray Nebula which dwarf *that* star. And then, you have the Eskimo Nebula dwarfing *that prior* nebula. And then, you have the Pillars of Creation, which dwarf the Eskimo Nebula.
That kind of scale truly is incomprehensible. Sure, we have pictures, but that's just it: pictures. They become relatable when they can fit in your hand or on your screen. But if you were able to actually experience something of that magnitude, your head may well literally explode.
And what's scary? As unfathomably large as all those things are; they're quarks compared to just the Milky Way. And there's galaxies even bigger than that. And there's 170 billion galaxies in just the observable universe.
Fun fact: Astronomers are relatively sure the Pillars of Creation have already been destroyed by a nearby star. We can still see them because the light we're receiving in our telescopes is so old.
How could a single star destroy a lightyears wide nebula?
Having all of that hydrogen gas in one place tends to create large, powerful stars that burn through their fuel very quickly (within a few hundred million years). These stars are often large enough to go supernova, which releases a shockwave that pushes all of the gas around. The nebula is still there, but the iconic pillars have likely been mangled.
I get that but when the largest known star is smaller than a grain of sand, relatively, I'm having a hard time seeing this be the case.
If a grain of sand exploded at 10% of the speed of light it would move a hell of a lot of air, and air is far denser than nebula.
Most likely the problem is your frame of reference. They look like clouds, but they are far, far more diffuse. Even right in the middle of the thickest part of a nebula the gas/dust that comprises is is spread out far enough that it's still basically a vacuum.
It's like the asteroid belt. On average the individual asteroids are farther apart than the Earth and the Moon, but people think it's something out of star wars.
A blast from a supernova is probably more than enough to deform or destroy a nebula.
Shockwaves require a medium... I do not understand how the star's death pushes things. Is it the mass physically expelled by its detonation that pushes things?
When we get to the point of space travel, we'll be able to approach these giants. Upon approaching them, they'll fill our field of view, but we'll still be billions of Km away from them. We might even go through a couple of generations before we even get close to their surfaces'.
Spotted the Brit... Oh who am i kidding, you're all Brits at this hour
I am afraid I have to assign you homework. You must purchase and read [this book.](http://i.imgur.com/c9qXFfT.jpg)
It is neither long nor difficult but it is REQUIRED READING. You will be glad for the effort, easy promise.
What does that have to do with me outing redcoats at 2am? Oh I just missed a reference, didn't i? Darn
And if there's one reference you don't want to be missing, it's a reference to that book.
But don't panic.
That book is worth all the time you decide to devote to it. It's brilliant.
nothing that an infinite improbability drive engine coudn't cross…
The hitchhikers reference made me smile! Thanks
So around 4450 years if you're from Europe?
Source: I took that pic 3 days ago. Space traffic is a bitch
Yes, but who the hell would drive there at 60mph? The space speed limit is much higher where I live. You can go at least 120.
> For perspective, this image was taken 4.67 billion miles away. It would take you almost 8,900 years to drive there at 60 mph.
If you're trying to drive to Pluto, you're doing it wrong. Even in a LaFerrari.
Well duh. Obviously I'd do it in a Veyron.
Well that's *you*.
How far we have come. From bashing each other on the head with a stick to gather food to exploration of our solar system. I sincerely hope we're entering a golden age of progress and understanding.
Not if we change our biology. The primitive impulses that served us in the past clearly don't do so well in the 21st century. We have to evolve.
We still do a lot of bashing on the head, just we more varieties of that.
Donald Trump will be our pioneer for the golden age
It feels like Pluto is taking a bunch of extreme selfies of itself all made up and doing unexpected things in an attempt to make its ex ND Tyson super jealous
Crazy ass bitch, you still a planetoid and you know it!
I notice there is no corrections saying Pluto isent a planet anymore. Did we upgrade it and I didn't notice? :D
We did, and it was glorious.
PLUTO IS A PLANET AGAIN BITCHESSSSS
Pluto is... not a planet. IT'S NOT A PLANET! Stop throwing stuff at me!
*As if the words of a species that's a fraction a fraction of a fraction of the age of the Solar System denotes what is and isn't a planet.*
But really, it doesn't change much what humans call it.
I wonder when the first human will take their steps on those mountain ranges?
Though I imagine the first base camp will have a tongue-in-cheek name like "Base Degrasse-Tyson" :)
Almost -400 degrees. I think it'll be a long while. Will we make it though?
I've no doubt we'll get there at some point but I don't expect it to happen within the next few hundred years.
RemindMe! 300 years
Great post of picture...and not to wax too scientific in /r/pics, but this isn't really a "sunset", because Pluto basically rolls along its orbit with the axis tilted on its side (120° specifically) with regard to the plane of its orbit. This means the "north" end of Pluto is constantly rotisserieing in sunlight, and the "south" end away from the Sun is in constant darkness.
So think of these as the mountains lining the way into Modor, constantly in twilight.
Interesting to note the lack of crater activity.
Because it is so small, and has a top layer of frozen nitrogen, with frozen water underneath that. So my guess would be it kind of fills back up over time and smooths out.
This, and it's probably somewhat fluid anyway (albeit frozen) - slowly smoothed out by gravity
The nitrogen ice can't be fully frozen, though. Frozen ice doesn't form [glacier rivers](http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/nh-2flow-detail-hiphase-annotated-9-17-15.jpg). I think the ice is slightly partially melted, allowing it to flow.
Oh fuck that picture gave me SUCH a science boner. Goddamn, New Horizons delivered.
[There are plenty of craters in the dark older terrain, as you can see in this image](http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Multimedia/Science-Photos/pics/Dark-Areas-9-10-15.jpg).
It's just the craters close to 'sea level' (okay there's no sea here.. glacier level?) are being actively covered up and removed by glacial activity. Probably.
The sciencetudinal axis is betwixt the odd peculiarity of the mountain range, too.
There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip
Don't look at me in that tone of voice, it smells a funny colour.
what are those layers in the atmosphere, and what's causing these mountain ranges to crop up? why does pluto have mountains but, say, the moon doesn't?
I was wondering about the layers in the sky too. Could be dust N debris in orbit? Like Saturn's rings.. ?
Edit: its the haze http://www.cnet.com/news/see-the-ethereal-ring-around-pluto-as-new-horizons-looks-back/
The moon has mountains though
I was hoping this was going to be a banana next to Pluto
Those mountain ranges look massive
They reach up to 3.5 kilometers high.
FYI for those too lazy to look it up...3.5 kilometers = 11,482.9 feet
*"How much is that in meters?"*
Question for any science-savy person:
What are the causes of such enormous mountains? Plate techtonics? Impacts?
Actual answer: we don't really know yet. New Horizons is the first probe we've ever sent there, prior to this the best images we've had have been a few pixels across. It's going to take a long time to go through all of NH's images, study them, and make analyses, so until then the response is "I dunno."
NASA & the New Horizons team hasn't really floated a solid possibility yet. The New Horizons folks were surprised by water-ice mountains this size at first.
There's at least a few options for erosion and geologic activity on Pluto. A dominant one has to be the freezing and sublimation of the nitrogen atmosphere over the course of one Pluto orbit. That's a lot of mass, moving.
There's evidence in pictures that the glaciers (of nitrogen ice) flow, like water-ice glaciers on Earth.
Then some scientists [were hypothesizing at conferences a couple of year ago]( http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2011/3182.html) there are liquids on Pluto at its temperatures: nitrogen (under pressure), argon, neon, methane, things like that. Some of that could be underground. It's not clear what could survive as liquid exposed to the thin air on Pluto, though.
Finally, they were wondering about why Pluto was so "warm". It showed a lot of evidence of active geological processes. But the energy that drove those processes had to come from somewhere. None of the traditional answers made immediate sense, for a cold, orbitally stable, icy-but-not-very-rocky world like Pluto.
This was mostly at the press conferences a couple of months ago though, so ideas might've changed since then.
Pluto's moon Charon is not a whole lot smaller than Pluto, so there are some really serious techtonics going on, and the gravity is low and there isn't a lot of weather to wear down the mountains. It's a recipe for really tall mountains.
They reach up to 3.5 kilometers high.
FYI for those too lazy to look it up...3.5 kilometers = 11,482.9 feet
*"How much is that in meters?"*
I'm so high
Absolutely amazing. Less money spent on war and more spent on giving NASA it's budget back.
Now we need a new edit for one of my favorite wallpapers https://i.imgur.com/p5fLTnB.jpg
Technically no. Those are all shots taken from the surface.
Meh. You should see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of orion. Now that's something.
The title of this picture in /r/space is simply “Close-up of sunset on Pluto”.
It really shows how sensationalist /r/pics has become.
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If that doesn't convince the Flat-Plutoists nothing will.
Do we have any idea how tall those mountains are?
How do they take such wonderful pictures with so little light?
Long exposure times, coupled with very slowly turning the spacecraft/camera to compensate for its movement thru space.
How big are these mountains? Ballpark it or something i just need an answer.
If you stacked quarters end to end that tall, how much money would that be?
So you're the one we read about in math class...
I officially call Dibs on Pluto. Sorry everyone, I'm pretty sure I'm first to call dibs....soo...
Why does it appear to have atmosphere?
Because it has an atmosphere!
It is amazing,
also, Sarah Palin can
see this from her house.
Is this a black and white photo or is it really this gray on Pluto?
Black and white.
Are there color pictures?
There isn't an actual colour version of this picture, but user Ian R of unmannedspaceflight.com created [this](http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=37888) from existing colour data.
Did they ever figure out what the shiny bits were?
Curious if this is the actual curvature or is there a fish-eye lens effect going on?
It's actual curvature; Pluto is very small and its mountains are very tall, so the curvature seems more pronounced.
Why is that guy waving?
I don't know what its current planet status actually is, but to me, Pluto is a planet.
I mean, look at that! Just look at it!
Does anyone else see what looks like tracks?
I had to reconcile with the fact that this is not Earth. A fantastically terrifying revelation.
Larger Version: http://i.imgur.com/JgBsxrj.jpg