New videos from New Horizons team. Flyover of Pluto and Charon

in #space6 years ago

Using actual New Horizons data  on Pluto and its largest moon Charon, mission scientists have created flyover movies that offer spectacular new perspectives of the many unusual features that were discovered and which have reshaped our views of the Pluto system. In the modeling digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon were used, but the topographic relief is exaggerated by a factor of two to three times in these movies to emphasize topography; the surface colors of Pluto and Charon also have been enhanced to bring out detail. 

Here is Pluto flyover. As New Horizons is a flyby mission, only one side of dwarf panet is mapped - the far side of Pluto is terra incognita.

Pluto flyover begins over the highlands to the southwest of the great expanse of nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planitia. The viewer first passes over the western margin of Sputnik, where it borders the dark, cratered terrain of Cthulhu Macula, with the blocky mountain ranges located within the plains seen on the right. The tour moves north past the rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra and then turns southward over Pioneer Terra -- which exhibits deep and wide pits -- before concluding over the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa in the far east of the encounter hemisphere

Charon flyover - again, only one side is mapped.

Flight over Charon begins high over the hemisphere New Horizons saw on its closest approach, then descends over the deep, wide canyon of Serenity Chasma. The view moves north, passing over Dorothy Gale crater and the dark polar hood of Mordor Macula. The flight then turns south, covering the northern terrain of Oz Terra before ending over the relatively flat equatorial plains of Vulcan Planum and the “moated mountains” of Clarke Montes 

Digital mapping and rendering were performed by Paul Schenk and John Blackwell of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.



It is funny you mention Charon as Pluto's moon. If I am not wrong (otherwise please correct me), Pluto is not a planet anymore because it is not clear who is the moon of who. Is this right?

Formally pluto is a dwarf planet (new class formed after discovery of many such bodies). But you're right, some prefer to call Pluto-Charon a binary system bc it rotates around common center of gravity which is outside of both bodies.
To call Charon a Pluto's moon is a tradition. Pluto is bigger after all - family portrait as is

Thanks for the clarifications! We can probably say that everything is life is, at the end of the day, always a matter of size :p

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