Thursday, September 27, 2012

Get the most accurate picture of Pluto, made with Earth

The planet, dwarf planet or Kuiper Belt objects, so what's the difference? The main thing that astronomers the most detailed picture to date of Pluto ever do with ground-based observations.

And that's how they got it:

They did a series of pictures of Pluto and Charon, using a newly developed camera called Differential Speckle Survey Instrument (DSSI), which is mounted on an 8-meter telescope of the Gemini North, located in Hawaii. 

The researchers combined these images into one big image, eliminating noise generated by turbulence, and optical aberration. With this technique, known as "speckle interferometry", was received incredibly sharp, clear images of the distant pair of objects, particularly notable for the fact that 1) it was created from images taken with the Earth 2) Pluto is very small, 3) Pluto is very, very far away from our planet.

This study was partially funded U.S. National Science Foundation and the research mission of "Kepler" NASA and will be published in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in October 2012

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