Pictures of Pluto - level 3

Pictures of Pluto - level 3

20-07-2015 07:00

From a few blurry pixels to a close-up, high-res view of a dwarf planet over 4 and a half billion miles from Earth, this animation shows just how far human understanding of Pluto has come.

The distant world was discovered in 1930 by astronomer Clyde William Tombaugh but details of its origins and makeup have eluded scientists ever since. For decades, Pluto remained a mystery, out of reach of NASA missions. That was until this week, when the New Horizons probe flew past the icy planet.

This animation released by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre contains images taken by Tombaugh, the Hubble Telescope and New Horizons. The close-up image at the end of the sequence shows in detail for the very first time structures smaller than a mile across. The difference between this image and the blurry silhouette of a planet Clyde William Tombaugh saw in the 1930's couldn't be more stark.

Difficult words: blurry (not easy to see), makeup (the stuff that makes something), elude (if something eludes you, you fail to find it), probe (a spacecraft with no people in it), stark (clear).


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