New NASA Photo Shows A Crescent Pluto In All Its Glory

A new image of Pluto can be described with one word: breathtaking.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured the stunning photo, which shows the dwarf planet’s crescent, just 15 minutes after making its closest approach in July.

The photo, which was released by the space agency on Thursday, was taken by the spacecraft’s Multispectral Imaging Camera at just 11,000 miles away from the dwarf planet.

The backlighting provided by the sun highlights Pluto’s thin atmosphere, which scientists recently found to be blue, and illuminates the dwarf planet’s icy plain, nicknamed Sputnik Planum or “Pluto’s heart,” which is bordered by mountains.

Pluto’s stunning crescent was captured before in a jaw-dropping photo (below), which was released in September.

New Horizons is now more than 3 billions miles from Earth and still trucking through the Kuiper Belt, the vast region of primordial debris that encircles our solar system.

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