SCIENCE
10/31/2015 10:24 am ET

New NASA Photo Shows A Crescent Pluto In All Its Glory

The backlit image gives us a new look at the dwarf planet.
This image was taken just 15 minutes after New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, as the spacecraft l
NASA
This image was taken just 15 minutes after New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, as the spacecraft looked back at the dwarf planet, toward the sun.

A new image of Pluto can be described with one word: breathtaking.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured the stunning photo, which shows the dwarf planet's crescent, just 15 minutes after making its closest approach in July. 

The photo, which was released by the space agency on Thursday, was taken by the spacecraft's Multispectral Imaging Camera at just 11,000 miles away from the dwarf planet.

The backlighting provided by the sun highlights Pluto's thin atmosphere, which scientists recently found to be blue, and illuminates the dwarf planet's icy plain, nicknamed Sputnik Planum or "Pluto's heart," which is bordered by mountains.

Pluto's stunning crescent was captured before in a jaw-dropping photo (below), which was released in September.

The New Horizons spacecraft also captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains ex
Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
The New Horizons spacecraft also captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto's horizon after making its closest approach on July 14, 2015.

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