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8 intriguing images of Pluto and beyond

By: Katherine Butler on Sept. 12, 2011, 11:07 a.m.
pluto's surface

Photo: NASA/ESA/H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team

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Pluto's surface

These images of Pluto, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994, show the two hemispheres of the dwarf planet. NASA believes "the variations in brightness may be due to topographic features and/or surface composition, frost layers and interactions with Pluto's nitrogen-methane atmosphere." Pluto takes about 248 Earth years to complete one orbit around the sun. Markedly different in size compared to the gas giants, Pluto is only slightly smaller than our moon and half the width of the United States.