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NASA releases a colorful, psychedelic video of Pluto

NASA releases a colorful, psychedelic video of Pluto


And a brief history of the dwarf planet's trippy imagery

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NASA has released hundreds of photos of the Pluto system since the flyby in July, but a handful of them have supremely psychedelic. A new video released today is no exception.

The agency took images made by the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array, or LEISA, and combined them to make the colorful video you see above. The video's been sped up about 17 times from the original frame rate, according to the agency, and the colors have been 'translated,' since LEISA only captures infrared light. (In fact, it was this particular LEISA data set that revealed the existence of water ice on Pluto.)

Pluto's way out there, man

Those false colors and that speed give the video an ethereal quality, one that makes it feel like you're flying by the planet while staring at it through a pair of diffraction glasses. But it's definitely not the first far out Pluto imagery released by the agency.

In fact, NASA also released this red-and-green Pluto image today, which serves quite literally no other purpose other than giving the agency something to publish on Christmas Eve.

Pluto christmas image

Back on flyby day, the New Horizons scientists published these false-color images of Pluto and its moon, Charon, hours before they even received the signal that confirmed the spacecraft had survived. Later, it published a full-resolution version of Pluto.

Pluto Charon false color

But, of course, nothing tops the extremely trippy photo released in November. The New Horizons team stretched the colors on this on to the extreme in order to exaggerate the differences in Pluto's surface.

It looked like Pluto had spent the night raging at an EDM festival — if dwarf planets weren't just hunks of rock and could attend music festivals like people, that is. So one of our video directors took the image to it's logical, dubstep-soundtracked conclusion:

Merry Christmas, Pluto.