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NASA Releases Photo And Video Of Christmas-Themed Pluto

Update Date: Dec 29, 2015 02:41 PM EST

One new image and video of Pluto look very pretty, like a Christmas greeting!

NASA's New Horizons probe  released them, using its infrared spectrometer. It uses "a linearly-varying filer to create a stained glass window effect in its search for reflected chemicals", according to HNGN.

When Pluto's methane ice absorbed these chemicals, they created dark bands, which resulted in a "Christmas-like mix of red and green when the data is inputted into visible color channels".

NASA's Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instruments created the image on the New Horizons probe about 67,000 miles away from Pluto, said a press release.

LEISA could only capture infrared light, but colors were "translated" with the color channels to create the colorful effect.

The scans have been used to diagnose the presence of water ice on Pluto. Further research will use the data in order to understand the evolution of Pluto and its moon Charon.

The accompanying video too "was speeded up" making it 17 times faster than the original frame rate to result in the interesting looks.

"This is what you would have actually seen if you were on board the New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, looking out at Pluto through a stained glass window with infrared eyes," said Alex Parker, a planetary scientist working with the New Horizons mission, in a blog post  regarding the video.

YouTube/NASA.gov Video 

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