Pictures of Pluto

by Fraser Cain on April 24, 2008

Pluto is so small and distant that we just don’t have any good pictures of it… yet. We get so many people asking that I’ve compiled together a gallery of the best pictures of Pluto. Some of these are actual Pluto pictures, captured by telescopes, while others are pics of Pluto done by an artist. Once NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft finally arrives in 2015, we’ll get some actual, close up images of Pluto and its moon Charon.

Even though Pluto’s not a planet any more, we can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like.

Each image links to a version you can use as your desktop background. To do this, click on an image to see the larger version, and then right-click and choose “Set as desktop”. Now you’ll have the picture as your background.

You can also look through these books from if you want more information about Pluto.

This is one of the best hubble pics of Pluto ever taken. It was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. The image clearly shows both Pluto and Charon as separate disks with surface features.

This is a picture of Pluto, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The photograph of Pluto was taken when the dwarf planet was 4.8 billion km (3 billion miles) from Earth. Hubble was able to see lighter and darker patches across the surface of Pluto. What’s happening here? We’ll have to wait for New Horizons to know better.

This is an artist’s illustration picture of Pluto and Charon seen from one of its smaller moons. Pluto is the large disk right in the middle of the photograph, and Charon is the smaller one over to the right. Pluto’s other tiny moon is the bright object to the left, just above the horizon. (Image credit: NASA).

Here’s a new portrait of the Solar System, with tiny Pluto and the other dwarf planets. You can see how they compare in size to the rest of the planets.

This is a picture of Pluto being visited by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. The actual encounter is going to happen in 2015, when the first close-up images of the surface of Pluto will be sent back to Earth.

I hope you enjoyed these Pluto pics.


Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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