New Horizons' 'farewell to Pluto' captured the plant's stunning blue sky.
New Horizons’ ‘farewell to Pluto’ captured the plant’s stunning blue sky.

Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA just released a new photo of everyone’s favorite dwarf planet, and it’s something to behold.

Taken from 120,000 miles behind Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons, the shot perfectly captures Pluto’s blue haze.

The photo’s the result of six black-and-white photos stitched together, with color added from separate photos taken in July 2015, just hours after the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Pluto, NASA says.

This allowed scientists to get one of their best shots yet of the dwarf planet’s blue haze. The haze, backlit by the light of the sun, is caused by the same phenomenon that makes haze here on Earth sometimes look blue, scientists say. If you look closely, the haze also illuminates Pluto’s mountains (near the top left side of the image.) 

“Sunlight casts dramatic and beautiful finger-like shadows from many of these features onto the haze,” New Horizons writes. 

NASA has dubbed the photo a “farewell to Pluto” because of its unique angle that captured almost the entire silhouette of the dwarf planet, not because it’s going anywhere. So Pluto fans need not worry —it won’t be the last incredible Pluto photo we see from New Horizons. There’s surely more to come.

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