Explanation: A darkened and mysterious north polar region informally known as Mordor Macula caps this premier high-resolution portrait of Charon, Pluto's largest moon. Captured by New Horizons near its closest approach on July 14, the image data was transmitted to Earth on September 21. The combined blue, red, and infrared data is processed to enhance colors, following variations in surface properties with a resolution of about 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles). In fact, Charon is 1,214 kilometers (754 miles) across, about 1/10th the size of planet Earth but a whopping 1/2 the diameter of Pluto itself. That makes it the largest satellite relative to its planet in the solar system. This remarkable image of Charon's Pluto-facing hemisphere shows a clearer view of an apparently moon-girdling belt of fractures and canyons that seems to separate smooth southern plains from varied northern terrain.
old dude wrote:Nice picture, but kind of boring. Why is there no Milky Way and a thunderstorm in the background? Okay, I get the 'no thunderstorm part', but why no Milky way?
Look at yourself in the bathroom mirror...the galactic center is the reflection of you in the mirror. Now imagine a great disk of material, about 10' in diameter, swirling around your reflections waist that extends as far again behind the physical you and is parallel to the floor. The reflection of you is the galactic center, the disk is the galactic plane and the physical you is the solar system. Now that you have located your home solar system, hold out your arm and lift it up about half way between your head and the ceiling look at a spot about an inch in diameter around your index finger, this is Pluto and the area in the image. Do you see any of the thin disk you imagined in that area?
The craters on Charon are much more clearly visible than on Pluto. Even on Charon, though, they appear to be considerably less numerous than the craters on our own Moon. Thanks, APOD, for this ongoing banquet of images from New Horizons ... keep them coming, I'm not too full yet.
Pluto a planet? I think the politicians should step in and give us a good legal definition. E.g. "Our solar system has 9 planets. These are the 9 objects in the system for which we have a planetary governor. The planetary governors meet each month in Las Vegas, NV and they each provide taxation/tribute to the Supremely Sovereign Systemic Liege, based on the population of their planets and a roll of the dice."
I think something HIT the southern hemisphere...sunk much of it, caused Rilles..as things moved and then cooled. The Dark Material is some ejecti, from some type of geyser or something. Or something scraped through there...there is a depression there...almost like...No...couldn't be....MINED?????
Well...OK...some sort of EJECTI.....as it is powdered over some of the Rays of craters, like the one on the right side of the depression. If the crater was later, the material would be Lighter and on top of the Red? I think so. There is a partial looking crater on the left. The pattern looks like it goes left to right, and North....if an object hit a Mountain...at an ANGLE...then the spread of the debris might look similar? Momentum and direction?
There is also a GOUGE in the upper right, More Rilles on the far side?
Absolutely Fantastic Image and a Fascinating place....