February 4, 2010 / 8:11 PM / 10 years ago

Pluto turning brighter and redder, pictures show

A combination picture of the most detailed view to date of the entire surface of the dwarf planet Pluto, as constructed from multiple NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken from 2002 to 2003 are seen in these images released on February 4, 2010. Hubble reveals a complex-looking and variegated world with white, dark-orange, and charcoal-black terrain. The overall color is believed to be a result of ultraviolet radiation from the distant Sun breaking up methane that is present on Pluto's surface, leaving behind a dark, molasses-colored, carbon-rich residue. This series of pictures took four years and 20 computers operating continuously and simultaneously to accomplish. REUTERS/NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pluto is turning brighter and redder as its 248-year-long rotation around the sun changes its seasons, NASA reported on Thursday.

The U.S. space agency released new images taken by the orbiting Hubble space telescope that show Pluto’s northern hemisphere growing brighter and the entire planet looking redder.

“These changes are most likely consequences of surface ice melting on the sunlit pole and then refreezing on the other pole, as the dwarf planet heads into the next phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle,” NASA’S Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore said in a statement.

More pictures of Pluto, which has been demoted to a minor planet, can be seen at hubblesite.org/news/2010/06.

Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Eric Walsh

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below