Pluto and Charon: Holy @#$%! we’re almost THERE!

You forget how fast the New Horizons Pluto probe is actually moving (13 times faster than a rifle bullet, relative to Pluto; 15 times, relative to the Sun) until you realize how much our pictures of Pluto and its moons have improved just in the last few days. In a way, it’s awesome for impatient people like me. In another way, it’s kind of a shame. New Horizons isn’t going to get the chance to go into a nice orbit and map that weird spot that looks like a pimple, or the big whale-shaped patch, or those things that look maddeningly like dark rivers. But hey, it’s better than no pictures of Pluto at all, and I take off every hat I’ve ever worn to the New Horizons team in celebration.

Unluckily for me, I’ll be at work during the actual flyby (although I may sneak in a couple extra “bathroom” breaks. Normal men use their bathroom breaks for porn. I use mine to look at Pluto. And I’m fine with that.) But, in celebration of the big day, here’s another bit of enhancement work. These are the latest images I could download of Pluto and Charon from New Horizons’ LORRI imager. Same process as last time: I stretched their contrast, then applied an unsharp mask to bring out the fine details, at the cost of losing some of that contrast.

Pluto and Charon Jul 13