True Colors of Pluto

Color image of Pluto showing a brownish hue.
July 23, 2018
CreditNASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Alex Parker
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This is the most accurate natural color images of Pluto taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2015.

These natural-color images result from refined calibration of data gathered by New Horizons' color Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The processing creates images that would approximate the colors that the human eye would perceive, bringing them closer to “true color” than the images released near the encounter.

This image was taken as New Horizons zipped toward Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015, from a range of 22,025 miles (35,445) kilometers. This single color MVIC scan includes no data from other New Horizons imagers or instruments added. The striking features on Pluto are clearly visible, including the bright expanse of Pluto's icy, nitrogen-and-methane rich "heart," Sputnik Planitia.

Read More

  • Explore the true color version of Pluto's giant moon, Charon.
  • More about New Horizons, the first mission to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
  • More about Pluto, the best known world in the Kuiper Belt.
  • More on the Kuiper Belt, a vast ring of icy debris beyond the orbit of Neptune.