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New Horizons says goodbye to Pluto with beautiful high-resolution photos


Our time with Pluto may have come to end for now, but NASA's New Horizons spacecraft still has a few parting shots for us. The probe sent back these breathtaking photographs of Pluto in even higher resolution, as well as one final image of the planet in silhouette. These are the last images we'll get from Pluto until September, as it will take NASA a few months to downlink the bulk of the data gathered by the spacecraft.

The first image combines together four photos taken from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) of Pluto. The mosaic was combined with color data from the spacecraft's Ralph instrument to create the best color image of Pluto yet. The same technique was used to create this enhanced color image of Pluto (shown below). The pictures were taken on July 13th when New Horizons was 280,000 miles away from the dwarf planet, and they show surface features as small as 1.4 miles.

And as a final farewell, New Horizons snapped this image of Pluto in silhouette, backlit by our Sun. Taken around midnight on July 15th after New Horizons had passed by the dwarf planet, the image illuminates Pluto's hazy atmosphere.

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