APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby APOD Robot » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:11 am

Image A Plutonian Landscape

Explanation: This shadowy landscape of majestic mountains and icy plains stretches toward the horizon of a small, distant world. It was captured from a range of about 18,000 kilometers when New Horizons looked back toward Pluto, 15 minutes after the spacecraft's closest approach on July 14. The dramatic, low-angle, near-twilight scene follows rugged mountains still popularly known as Norgay Montes from foreground left, and Hillary Montes along the horizon, giving way to smooth Sputnik Planum at right. Layers of Pluto's tenuous atmosphere are also revealed in the backlit view. With a strangely familiar appearance, the frigid terrain likely includes ices of nitrogen and carbon monoxide with water-ice mountains rising up to 3,500 meters (11,000 feet). That's comparable in height to the majestic mountains of planet Earth. This Plutonian landscape is 380 kilometers (230 miles) across.

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby ta152h0 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:14 am

you science guys and navigators at john Hopkins did an outstanding job flying Pluto so close to NH
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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby BMAONE23 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:20 am

At that low angle, those mountains strongly resembles busted and stacked Arctic pack ice, oh...wait a minute...it is ice

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Tara_Li » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:40 am

Can I presume the semi-circular streaks more or less parallel to the horizon are star trails? Or is the atmosphere of Pluto *VASTLY* more complicated than we ever imagined?

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Chris Peterson » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:14 am

Tara_Li wrote:Can I presume the semi-circular streaks more or less parallel to the horizon are star trails? Or is the atmosphere of Pluto *VASTLY* more complicated than we ever imagined?

Those are not star trails, but are, in fact, layers of atmosphere.
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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Jericoma » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:44 am

Hi,
Looks like a BIG bear strolling on the plains (bottom right).
:D

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Ann » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:49 am

Jericoma wrote:Hi,
Looks like a BIG bear strolling on the plains (bottom right).
:D


I guess you refer to Sputnik Planum, the smooth part of Pluto.

That thin, layered atmosphere is really fascinating to look at. What is it made of, nitrogen?

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Guest » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:40 am

Middle right on the photo. Has the look of a moving glacier with moraines and flow patterns.

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby SHRDLU » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:27 am

It looks like Luís Calçada was about right.
http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0908a/

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby geckzilla » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:23 am

There is a wider view of the entire crescent of Pluto available. This is a PNG format and therefore somewhat large image but well worth the download:
http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files ... inal_0.png
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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby madtom1999 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:33 am

BMAONE23 wrote:At that low angle, those mountains strongly resembles busted and stacked Arctic pack ice, oh...wait a minute...it is ice


I think it is - the more I see this the more I am convinced that the flat bit is in fact a frozen crater lake and the three lobes around it are stuff splashed out from some impact - possibly a multiple impact in rapid succession. The mountains are merely icebergs sloshed out of the lake.

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby orin stepanek » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:53 am

Awesome photo of Pluto!!! 8-)
Orin

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby alex_ag » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:36 am

This is really impressive. It's funny, on Pluto if you stand at the summit on these icy mountains you could see the planet's curvature !

Alex

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby William6 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:08 pm

Backlit view? It does not appear backlit, and after New Horizons flew past, wouldn't the the sun and the spacecraft be on opposite sides of the planet? What am I missing?

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby BMAONE23 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:58 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Tara_Li wrote:Can I presume the semi-circular streaks more or less parallel to the horizon are star trails? Or is the atmosphere of Pluto *VASTLY* more complicated than we ever imagined?

Those are not star trails, but are, in fact, layers of atmosphere.

While no star trails are visible in the APOD version, there are several star trails in the PNG file posted by Geck

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Chris Peterson » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:49 pm

BMAONE23 wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
Tara_Li wrote:Can I presume the semi-circular streaks more or less parallel to the horizon are star trails? Or is the atmosphere of Pluto *VASTLY* more complicated than we ever imagined?

Those are not star trails, but are, in fact, layers of atmosphere.

While no star trails are visible in the APOD version, there are several star trails in the PNG file posted by Geck

We should note, however, that those are not star trails in the usual sense we use the term, but rather, are trailed stars, a symptom of motion blur. As close Pluto was to the camera, and as fast as the camera was moving, it was necessary to track the target, which means that the background moved a bit during the exposure.
Chris

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Boomer12k » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:54 pm

What a great and amazing shot....almost looks like a model in a movie.
Reminds me of when Barbarella lands on the planet 16 in the Tau Ceti System...down there on the icy plain...

Such a fascinating and varied surface...a place to explore...

Looks like it was FLOWING at one time...that looks like shore line, that winding part in the middle.

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:52 pm

Just as in the Wanderers it makes one wonder who will be the first one to top Pluto's highest peak. IAU (or whoever was responsible for naming the geography) couldn't have better named the mountains just as NASA obviously :clap: did such a fine job envisioning the fly by. As to naming –I'm curious as to when they began to plan it? :wink:
Last edited by Ron-Astro Pharmacist on Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby IamOuibe » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:43 pm

The upper left and right of the picture makes it appear that the camera is actually within the atmosphere of the planet. How can those arcs of diffuse light be that high on the photo? Assuming that the craft is not within the atmosphere, what has caused this illusion?

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Chris Peterson » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:47 pm

IamOuibe wrote:The upper left and right of the picture makes it appear that the camera is actually within the atmosphere of the planet. How can those arcs of diffuse light be that high on the photo? Assuming that the craft is not within the atmosphere, what has caused this illusion?

The atmosphere is in the image frame. That doesn't mean the camera is in the atmosphere.
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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby tetrodehead » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:08 pm

Are we looking at subduction wth the plain diving and popping up mountains?

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby BMAONE23 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:13 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
IamOuibe wrote:The upper left and right of the picture makes it appear that the camera is actually within the atmosphere of the planet. How can those arcs of diffuse light be that high on the photo? Assuming that the craft is not within the atmosphere, what has caused this illusion?

The atmosphere is in the image frame. That doesn't mean the camera is in the atmosphere.

interestingly, the extent of the atmosphere in the APOD photo is only about half of the actual atmospheric extent

Remo

Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby Remo » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:21 pm

William6 wrote:Backlit view? It does not appear backlit, and after New Horizons flew past, wouldn't the the sun and the spacecraft be on opposite sides of the planet? What am I missing?


The only thing you are missing is the definition of "Backlit": It means the object is lit from behind the object -- not from behind the observer. Easy mistake to make. Perfect example are backlit clouds which are dark but have silver edges -- just like the mountains at the bottom of the image.

Example of backlit clouds: http://coclouds.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... -06-21.jpg

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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby starsurfer » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:37 pm


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Re: APOD: A Plutonian Landscape (2015 Sep 18)

Postby ta152h0 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:15 pm

I recall seeing an image of Pluto as seen from the hubble showing light and dark patches. Now that we have these images, can ' we ' correlate the two /
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