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The New Horizons science team has released the best maps of both Pluto and Charon possible from the images taken during the spacecraft’s fly-by of the ninth planet last year.
The new maps include global mosaics of Pluto and Charon, assembled from nearly all of the highest-resolution images obtained by New Horizons’ Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). These mosaics are the most detailed and comprehensive global views yet of the Pluto and Charon surfaces using New Horizons data.
The new collection also includes topography maps of the hemispheres of Pluto and Charon visible to New Horizons during the spacecraft’s closest approach. The topography is derived from digital stereo-image mapping tools that measure the parallax – or the difference in the apparent relative positions – of features on the surface obtained at different viewing angles during the encounter. Scientists use these parallax displacements of high and low terrain to estimate landform heights.
You will also notice large areas of both Pluto and Charon that remain very fuzzy and unclear. What exactly is there will remain a mystery for many decades to come.