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Blue Haze Surrounds Pluto in New Image

Pluto’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles (called tholins) that grow as they settle toward the surface. This image was generated by software that combines information from blue, red and near-infrared images to replicate the color a human eye would perceive as closely as possible. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft continues to relay startling images back to Earth and the latest shows Pluto wrapped in a layer of blue haze. According to NASA, the glow is caused by tiny grey or red particles that scatter blue light. Pluto's surface is reddish in color.

“Who would have expected a blue sky in the Kuiper Belt?" said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, referring to a broad ring of icy mini-worlds beyond Neptune where Pluto makes its home.

Image: Pluto photo from four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) combined with color data from the Ralph instrument
This NASA photo of Pluto was made from four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) combined with color data from the Ralph instrument in this enhanced color global view released on July 24, 2015. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via Reuters

Gallery: Month in Space Pictures