When the New Horizons spacecraft passes Pluto in 2015 it will be the furthest object from the Earth that has been examined up close, although even at its closet New Horizons will pass Pluto at a distance of around 9,650 kilometres.

New Horizons Photos

Pluto Before Flyby

Pluto Before Flyby – July 13th

 

Pluto 8 Million km - July 8th 2015

Pluto 8 million km – July 8th 2015

The image above and two below images were created by combining black and white photos from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) with colour data from its Ralph instrument.

 

Pluto New Horizons

Mysterious Dark Spots on Pluto

Pluto & Charon Orbit - June 23rd - June 29th 2015

Pluto & Charon Orbit

The following two images are among the first few images of Pluto and its moon Charon returned by New Horizons’ LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) and were taken from over 100 million kilometres.

Pluto & Charon New Horizons

First Pluto & Charon Colour Image

Pluto Charon Orbit

Pluto/Charon Orbit Animation

Hubble Photos

Before the photos returned by New Horizons the below images from the Hubble Space Telescope were the most detailed images of Pluto available.

Pluto Moons

Pluto & its Five Moons

Pluto Hubble

Pluto Hubble Map

Pluto Hubble 1994

Pluto from Hubble in 1994

Image Sources

Pluto before flyby: https://instagram.com/p/5HTXKMoaFL/

Pluto 8 million km: www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-new-horizons-a-heart-from-pluto-as-flyby-begins
Pluto Mysterious Dark Spots: www.nasa.gov/feature/latest-images-of-pluto-from-new-horizons
Pluto and Charon Orbit: www.nasa.gov/nh/pluto-charon-surfaces-in-color
First Pluto & Charon Colour Image: www.nasa.gov/content/first-pluto-charon-color-image-from-new-horizons
Pluto/Charon Orbit Animation: www.nasa.gov/image-feature/new-horizons-sees-pluto-and-charon
Pluto & its Five Moons: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/new-pluto-moon.html
Pluto Hubble Map: hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/solar%20system/pluto/2010/06/image/c/
Pluto from Hubble 1994: hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/solar%20system/pluto/1994/17/image/a/