Pluto ♇ Comes Into Clear View

A short visit after a long journey…

How I See It

Discovery

It has been 85 years since the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in February 1930. It was but a tiny speck of light on glass photographic plates. Tombaugh systematically imaged a region of the sky in pairs of photographs. For hours on end, he studied the pairs to see if any objects shifted position. He used a blink comparator to quickly shift views of each of the plates. If any objects changed position, the blinking created the illusion of movement.

Lowell Observatory Archives

Improved View

Pluto remained a speck of light until the Hubble telescope images revealed it with some hints of varying patches of color as in this highly processed image. This was the best view until now.

NASA | ESA | M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)

New Horizons

Humanity is finally getting a detailed closeup look at Pluto and its largest moon Charon thanks to the fly-by mission of the New Horizons spacecraft. A…

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