Here’s another exciting Pluto news that you would want to know more about – Pluto is covered by an atmosphere that exists as much as 100 miles above its surface. The tale of nitrogen enriched planet and glaciers is starting to get more exciting. An image captured during the NASA’s flyby trip to Pluto shows the tiny planet backlit by the Sun thus forming an atmospheric halo.
The image was captured by the New Horizons spacecraft on July 15 while it was passing by the Kuiper belt. The halo was formed due to Pluto’s atmosphere that looks like a haze.
A Wonderful Halo Of Sheer Wonder
According to scientists Pluto is made up of 2 layers that are 50 miles and 30 miles in terms of altitude each. The Principal Investigator Alan Stern mentioned that the exploration had a lot of wonderful discoveries but this view of Pluto with a halo made his jaws drop.
The Science Behind The Spectacle of The Atmospheric Halo
Scientists believe that this atmospheric halo is caused by the sunlight breaking methane gas that is predominantly present in Pluto’s atmosphere. Methane is a hydrocarbon that can be easily broken down into ethylene and acetylene in sunlight and form ice particles. The halo was formed by these ice particles and shone brightly in the sun light background.
Edited by: The Icy Tales Editorial Board