New Horizons records spectacular images of Pluto’s surface using LORRI and MVIC

New Horizons records spectacular images of Pluto’s surface using LORRI and MVIC

While flying by Pluto, New Horizons has captured stunning pictures of the icy world’s surface with the help of the LORRI and MVIC cameras. The plasma and dust environments have been recorded by it using the PEPSSI, SWAP and SDC instruments.

However, an instrument developed for measuring the composition of Pluto and surfaces of Charon did something that was slightly unexpected. It has captured the first movies from our solar system’s edge.

They have been recorded with a 256 x 256 pixel camera at under two frames per second, and aren’t exactly HDTV. But they are movies, and sort of colorful.

The instrument is the infrared imaging spectrometer of New Horizons, named LEISA. It is a quite clever instrument, captures 2-D images just like a normal camera, but takes them via a linearly-varying filter.

The camera’s one side can just see light of one particular wavelength of infrared light, and every row of pixels can see a faintly different wavelength.

With this filter, light with wavelengths as short as 1.25 microns falls on the image sensor’s one side, smoothly altering to allow light with wavelengths as long as 2.5 microns to fall on the other side of the image sensor.

The selection of wavelength range was done because a number of ices and other materials, existing on Pluto’s surface, having spectral features in this wavelength range that can identify them uniquely, just like a fingerprint.

The effect is quite like as if you are seining through a stained glass window that is made for infrared eyes.

According to a report from the Mashable, The little dwarf planet on the outer reaches of our solar system is getting decked out for the holiday in green and red.

The new image was taken by the New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015, at 9:40 a.m. ET when the probe was about 67,000 miles from Pluto. (And just to be totally clear, Pluto doesn't actually look like this. NASA produced this false color image to celebrate the season by assigning certain infrared wavelength ranges to red and green.)

Colour coordinating with the holiday spirit, NASA's New Horizons composition team released a new image of Pluto decked out in red and green. Produced using a pair of Ralph/LEISA instrument scans obtained at approximately 9:40 AM on July 14, from a mean range of 67,000 miles (108,000 kilometers), the dwarf planet looks glorious at a resolution of about 7 kilometers per LEISA pixel, told the IBN Live.

The Engadget notes that, Pluto may have been imaged six ways from Sunday, but it's clear that the New Horizons probe still has a few surprises up its sleeve. NASA has posted both a photo and a video showing how the spacecraft can produce vibrant colors from the seemingly drab-looking dwarf planet. The key is New Horizons' infrared spectrometer. Its linearly-varying filter produces a stained glass window effect as it looks for reflected chemicals, like in the clip you see below -- the dark bands come when Pluto's methane ice absorbs those materials

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