New Pluto Photo Released as New Horizons Nears Its Closest Approach

Posted on July 14, 2015

Photo of Pluto from New Horizons from 476,000 miles out

NASA released this stunning new image of Pluto as New Horizons is making its closest approach. The spacecraft has been traveling over 9 years to get to this historic moment. New Horizons will make its closest approach at 7.49 am EDT this morning.

This photo was taken at 4 p.m. EDT on July 13 when New Horizons was 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from Pluto's surface. New Horizons will pass within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) during its closest approach to Pluto.

You can still clearly see the heart-shaped feature on Pluto in the latest image. NASA shared the photograph here on its Instagram page. The photograph will be officially released at 8 a.m. during a NASA Television briefing.

NASA shared an artist's rendering of Pluto bathed in moonlight from Charon yesterday. NASA also shared a graphic comparing the size of Pluto and its moon Charon to the size of the Earth. Data from New Horizons indicates that Pluto has a diameter of 2370 kilometers (1472.6 miles) and Charon has a diameter of 1208 kilometers.

You can find more New Horizons' Pluto photographs here.

Photo: NASA