NASA Shares ‘Ice Cold’ Image of Dwarf Planet Pluto

by Megan Molseed
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Pluto may have gotten a new classification from planet to dwarf planet over a decade ago, however, the distant celestial body isn’t going to be forgotten by the scientists at NASA! Especially since today, February 4, marks the birthday of the scientist who originally discovered the dwarf planet.

On Friday afternoon, NASA shared an awesome photo of Pluto on Instagram. The photo is breathtaking as the distant orbital body is surrounded by the blackness of space. The planet is also highlighting the darkness of the pic as most of Pluto remains entirely in the dark.

However, the dwarf planet is surrounded by an incredibly awesome ring of light. A ring that ultimately outlines Pluto’s position in the pic.

NASA’s Pic Of Pluto Is ‘Cooler Than Being Cool’

The photo was breathtaking, and chilly all at once. And, to highlight just how NASA brings in a little bit of OutKast and André 3000 to introduce the Friday afternoon Instagram post…quoting a few lyrics from the duo’s 2003 hit, Hey Ya!

“What’s cooler than being cool?” NASA asks in the caption that coincides with the breathtaking post.

“Ice cold,” the Instagram page answers with a snowflake emoji to bring the point home.

NASA goes on to explain what kind of cold they are talking about when it comes to Pluto’s “ice-cold” status. And, it’s a chill beyond anything any of us could imagine.

“On average, the surface temperature on Pluto is -387° F (-232° C),” NASA shares in the Insta pic.

“making it too cold to sustain life as we know it,” the post continues. The scientists also add another shout-out to a musician. This time NASA mentions a Vanilla Ice hit with the added hashtag #iceicebaby at the end of the post.

It’s A Special Day In the Astronomey World

NASA goes on to note the reason for the breathtaking shout-out to the popular Dwarf Planet. Today is the birthday of the man who discovered Pluto ninety years ago in 1930.

“Today we say happy birthday to Pluto’s discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh, who in 1930 at Lowell Observatory in Arizona was the first to spot the dwarf planet,” NASA explains on the Insta post.

“Pluto was named by then 11-year-old Venetia Burney,” the caption continues. “whose suggestion was passed along to the observatory by her grandfather.”

New Horizons spacecraft took the breathtaking photo. According to the Instagram message, the photo depicts the Sun’s rays as they “pass through Pluto’s atmosphere at a distance of 120,000 miles (200,000 kilometers).”

“Scientists believe the spectacular blue haze is a photochemical smog resulting from the action of sunlight on methane and other molecules in Pluto’s atmosphere,” NASA notes of the unique glowing ring around Pluto in the February 4 Insta post.

“These hydrocarbons accumulate into small haze particles, which scatter blue sunlight,” NASA adds. the same process that can make haze appear bluish on Earth.” And, the space experts also add a fun little tidbit about Pluto’s journey in the outer limits. The Dwarf planet has a much slower orbital revolution time than we have here on earth. And, NASA notes, since its discovery, the planet has yet to make a full revolution around the sun.

Outsider.com