Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 July 11
See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version

Geology on Pluto
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Inst.

Explanation: Pluto is coming into focus. As the robotic New Horizons spacecraft bears down on this unexplored world of the distant Solar System, new features on its surface are becoming evident. In the displayed image taken last Thursday and released yesterday, an unusual polygonal structure roughly 200 kilometers wide is visible on the left, while just below it relatively complex terrain runs diagonally across the dwarf planet. New Horizon's images and data on these structures will likely be studied for years to come in an effort to better understand the geologic history of Pluto and our Solar System. After suffering a troublesome glitch last week, New Horizons will make its historic flyby of Pluto and its moons on Tuesday.

Pluto flyby updates: #PlutoFlyby, Twitter, Facebook, Web
Tomorrow's picture: plutonic launch

< | Archive | Submissions | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.