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Frozen methane detected on Pluto

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The dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon, Charon as taken by the New Horizons spacecraft from 11 million miles away. New Horizons will fly by the Pluto system on July 14, 2015. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI)

 

The New Horizons spacecraft from NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory has confirmed observations from Earth-based astronomers that there is frozen methane on Pluto’s surface.┬áThe original observation was made in 1976 from NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

In addition, new images show the view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, from 11 million miles away. As it rotates, Pluto displays a strongly contrasting surface dominated by a bright northern hemisphere with a darker band along its equator. Charon has a dark polar region but there are some brighter surface variations at lower latitudes.

For more information on this news from New Horizons, check out this article from NASA.