Charon Rises

Explanation: In this artist's rendering, Pluto's largest moon Charon rises over the frozen south pole surface of Pluto, casting a faint silvery luminescence across the distant planetary landscape. It's Antarctic winter on Pluto. The sun has not been visible for twenty years in this frigid south polar region; it will not shine again for another 80 years. The only source of natural light is starlight and moonlight from Pluto's largest moon, Charon. "The only way for New Horizons to observe Pluto's elusive night region is to see it in 'Charonshine,'" says Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist.


Image credit: JHUAPL/SwRI