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Latest NASA image of Pluto's crescent is a backlit wonder

Pluto crescent

NASA has released a new image of Pluto, this time showcasing the dwarf planet's crescent in a stunning new backlit photo sent back from New Horizons.

NASA says the image was taken just 15 minutes after New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto on July 14, earlier this year, "as the spacecraft looked back at Pluto toward the sun."

It essentially completes the image that the space agency released back in September, showcasing what the Pluto looks like at sunset.

The image shows the layers of the dwarf planet's atmosphere, which "highlights more than a dozen high-altitude layers of haze in Pluto's tenuous atmosphere," according to NASA.

The icy Sputnik Planun plateau can be seen on the brighter, sunlit side of the planet in the image, while the image also profiles of some of the planet's rugged terrain, including mountains that rise up to 11,000 feet.

New Horizons took the image, which has a resolution of 700 meters, from a distance of 11,000 miles from Pluto.

Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI