A crescent Pluto shines like a jewel in the Kuiper Belt

This image, taken 15 minutes after the New Horizons spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto on July 14, reveals the distant world’s rugged terrain and atmospheric haze layers. This image, first published in early September, was re-released by NASA Thursday after further image progressing to bring out details. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

This image, taken 15 minutes after the New Horizons spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto on July 14, reveals the distant world’s rugged terrain and atmospheric haze layers. This image, first published in early September, was re-released by NASA Thursday after further image progressing to bring out details. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

A High Resolution version of the image

An image released Thursday, taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft minutes after zipping past Pluto in July, shows the backlit world on a new scale, revealing rugged mountains, glacial plains and deep layers of atmospheric haze.

It is an expanded version of a crescent view first released in September, according to NASA, showing an entire hemisphere of Pluto with silhouetted terrain on the night side of the dwarf planet at the left side of the image. Scientists also say the subtle shadow cast by Pluto on its tenuous atmosphere is visible near the top of the picture.

Alan Stern, the New Horizons mission’s principal investigator, called the picture “mouthwatering” on Twitter.

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