Pluto's Glowing Halo | Space Wallpaper

Pluto's Glowing Halo
The blue haze seen around Pluto may be caused by sunlight-initiated chemical reactions between nitrogen and methane, leading to dusty particles in the atmosphere.
(Image: © NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

The vapor surrounding Pluto gleams brightly in an image snapped by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). Experts believe the halo is a high-altitude haze created by chemical reactions — instigated by the Sun — between nitrogen and methane. These reactions lead to tiny particles called tholins in the atmosphere. The New Horizons' team used software combining data from three images (blue, red and near-infrared) to reproduce what the view in space would look like. [See more images of Pluto and Its Moons.]

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at