EPOD 20th - First High-Quality Real Stereo Image of Pluto

September 03, 2020


We’re celebrating 20 years of Earth Science Picture of the Day during the month of September! Today’s photo features a popular EPOD from the past. Thanks to all of our followers (on the blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for supporting us. Thanks also to all of you who’ve submitted your photos. We’re most appreciative. This EPOD was originally published July 23, 2015.

Stereo Pair Creator
: Brian May
Summary Authors: Brian May; Greg Parker

July 2015 Viewer's ChoiceThis stereo pair of Pluto was created from images recently downloaded from the New Horizons spacecraft. I had the privilege of being at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, when the first 2-by-2 mosaic, full-planet image was downloaded from the probe and assembled into exactly the required resolution to partner with the iconic "last-look" photo that preceded the final fly-by. I worked with these two images to make the first-ever real, high-quality stereo image of Pluto -- the most satisfying stereo view I can recall making.

The right-hand image is the "last-look" image from July 15 and the left-hand image is the 2-by-2 mosaic downloaded from New Horizons on July 17. All I did was finely adjust the orientations so they would match up and also match the coloring of the two images by eye. This image pair can be viewed by free viewing and by using a stereo viewer such as the OWL. For more about NASA's historic encounter with Pluto click here.

Thanks to the New Horizons Team and to team leader Alan Stern for sharing their successes with me.