About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

NASA's New Horizons Captures Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto

by Vishnuprasad on October 9, 2015 at 7:32 PM
Font : A-A+

NASA's New Horizons Captures Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto

In a significant find, the first color images of Pluto's atmospheric hazes taken by NASA's New Horizons probe reveal that the hazes are strikingly blue like the blue sky we see on Earth.

The spacecraft has also detected numerous small, exposed regions of water ice on Pluto.

Advertisement

"Who would have expected a blue sky in the Kuiper Belt? It's gorgeous," said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

The haze particles themselves are likely gray or red but the way they scatter blue light is amazing.

"That striking blue tint tells us about the size and composition of the haze particles," said science team researcher Carly Howett.
Advertisement

A blue sky often results from scattering of sunlight by very small particles.

"On Earth, those particles are very tiny nitrogen molecules. On Pluto they appear to be larger -- but still relatively small -- soot-like particles we call tholins," Howett added in a NASA statement.

Scientists believe the tholin particles form high in the atmosphere, where ultraviolet sunlight breaks apart and ionizes nitrogen and methane molecules.

The probe also spotted water ice on Pluto. "Understanding why water appears exactly where it does, and not in other places, is a challenge that we are digging into," said science team member Jason Cook.

The areas showing the most obvious water ice spectral signatures correspond to areas that are bright red in the colour images.

"I'm surprised that this water ice is so red. We don't yet understand the relationship between water ice and the reddish tholin colorants on Pluto's surface," asked Silvia Protopapa, science team member from the University of Maryland.

New Horizons is currently five billion kilometres from Earth with all systems healthy and operating normally.

Source: IANS
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Anemia among Indian Women and Children Remains a Cause of Concern- National Family Health Survey-5
H1N1 Influenza Prevention in Children: What Parents Need to Know
Dietary Factors Responsible for Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Production and Hair Loss
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Holistic Management for Depression Water - Nutrient that Beats the Heat Tips for Healthy Fasting During Ramadhan Water Matters: Why You Need to Drink Enough Water Everyday 

Most Popular on Medindia

Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Selfie Addiction Calculator A-Z Drug Brands in India Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants The Essence of Yoga Drug Side Effects Calculator Blood - Sugar Chart Drug Interaction Checker Indian Medical Journals Find a Hospital
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
×

NASA's New Horizons Captures Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests