Bringing the Universe to Your Classroom!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pluto's Craters

I processed this image to emphasize, that (contrary to popular belief), there actually ARE craters on Pluto! Apparently, there is some geological activity going on at the surface involving ice - and, possibly, some degree of erosion.

It is my opinion that, since Pluto wasn't one of the original planets of the solar system during its formation but, rather, was gravitationally captured at some point afterwards, (evidenced by its highly inclined orbital plane), that it didn't experience the early period of bombardment by rogue asteroids and other debris (remnants of the solar system's formation), that the terrestrial planets did, and as our moon's surface reveals. Earth suffered as much of the bombardment as did the moon, but, due to atmospheric and geologic erosion, much of the impact evidence has disappeared over the eons since, whereas the moon, being nearly geologically inactive and possessing no significant atmosphere, has preserved its geologic past.

New Horizons Image of Pluto in False Color.
New Horizons Image of Pluto in False Color.

If Pluto was present during part of the bombardment period, it, too, may have suffered impacts, but, like Earth, much of that evidence has been eroded away, hence, the scarcity of impact craters at its surface.


  1. The nice great thing about images like this is that they are available to the public. This allows people to download and process the images using various types of image processing software. There is always data that can be brought out of these images that are not quite apparent in the original image, such as the craters seen on Pluto as displayed in Mr. Bryant's processed image.

  2. Thanks for adding that, Mike. There are, also, ' raw' images available from some websites. These are images that have only been processed to the extent of the limitations of the equipment used to capture the image, something like the 'latent' image captured by film. Raw images allow the astrophotographer complete control over processing. I frequently use three Android apps, for processing: Fotor, Photo Editor and Pixlr. Each of these has its own, unique processing tools, and the three together, allow a wide range of options.