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Pluto full disk high resolution

Solar System

A Cosmic Arrow Pierced Pluto's Heart — Is It Still There Beneath the Surface?

A giant impact likely formed Pluto's heart-shaped basin, Sputnik Planitia. A big chunk of the impactor’s core might still be buried under the ice.

Wright Mons on Pluto

Solar System

Plutonian Mounts Aren’t Ice Volcanoes

Careful study of data from the New Horizons mission indicates that an iconic, caldera-looking feature isn’t what it seems.


Solar System

How Did Pluto's Moons Form?

A massive collision with Pluto’s moon Charon could have formed the dwarf planet’s collection of smaller moons.

Looking back at Pluto

Celestial News & Events

Cool Off with Pluto This Summer

Pluto might be a challenging target but it's well worth the effort. Grab your telescope and see if you can spot this distant, chilly world.

Pluto atmosphere

Solar System

Did Pluto Harbor an Ancient Subsurface Ocean?

New studies shed light on the early years of Pluto's formation, and whether it ever hosted a subsurface ocean.

Beating heart on Pluto

Solar System

Pluto's Icy Heart "Beats," Driving Planet-Scale Winds

New computer simulations suggest that the "beating" of Pluto's frozen heart drives weak winds on this remote world in the outer solar system.

Multifaceted world


Lonely Pluto Is More than a Speck

With Saturn pointing the way, it's easy to venture into the Kuiper Belt this summer and pay a visit to Pluto.

Crater-counting on Charon

Solar System

Pluto and Charon Are Missing Small Craters

Scientists studying New Horizons images of craters on Pluto and its moon Charon have found that the Kuiper Belt must contain fewer small objects than expected — which suggests the outer solar system hasn’t changed much since its earliest days.

Crown in the western sky

Celestial News & Events

R Coronae Borealis Awakes and Pluto Blocks a Star

Sometimes, it's just as exciting to watch a celestial object fade or disappear as it is to see it explode. We celebrate the "return" of a mysterious variable star and prepare for Pluto to occult a star.

dunes on pluto

Space Missions

Dunes on Pluto

Planetary scientists think they’ve found wind-built ripples of methane ice on the king of the Kuiper Belt.

Pluto map

Solar System

First Pluto Features Officially Named

Two years after New Horizons captured the first high-resolution image of Pluto, the IAU releases official names for some of its features.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Let's Find Pluto!

At opposition this week and as bright as it will be for the next 190 years, it's time to find your way to Pluto, a frigid enigma at the edge of night.

Sputnik Planum on Pluto

Solar System

The Frozen Plain of Pluto

New images from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reveal an ice-covered plain on Pluto that looks remarkably young and fresh.

Charon close-up from July 13

Space Missions

Pluto and Charon Dazzle with Diversity

In a mission filled with surprises, New Horizons spacecraft has left its scientists awed by the array of landforms and compositions found on Pluto and Charon.

Pluto's heart, July 13th

Space Missions

New Horizons Scans Pluto as Earth Awaits

New Horizons flew past Pluto and its moons earlier today, but the spacecraft stayed out of contact with Earth while finishing its historic observations.

Pluto's heart, July 13th

Space Missions

New Horizons Buzzes Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft whizzed by Pluto this morning just before 8 a.m. EDT at nearly 14 km/s (31,000 mph), about 12,500 km (7,750 miles) above the surface.

Pluto-Charon in color on July 8, 2015

Space Missions

Pluto and Charon: The Odd Couple

With just one day remaining until New Horizons makes its historic flyby, missions scientists are amazed by the views of Pluto and Charon already in hand.

Solar System

Naming Pluto’s Features

How will planetary scientists decide what to call the features they discover on Pluto and its moons?

watching the Pluto occultation

Celestial News & Events

Down-Under Observers Track Pluto Cover-up

Deep snow, high winds, and dropped cameras didn't stop dozens of observers in New Zealand and Tasmania from recording Pluto's occultation of a bright star on June 29th.

Solar System

Glimpsing Pluto’s Curious Equator

Here’s a taste of what New Horizons hopes to resolve when it passes by Pluto next Tuesday, July 14th.