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News Release 760 of 955

March 7, 1996 02:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-09

Hubble Reveals Surface of Pluto for First Time

March 7, 1996: For the first time since Pluto's discovery 66 years ago, astronomers have at last directly seen details on the surface of the solar system's farthest known planet.

The Hubble telescope's snapshots of nearly the entire surface of Pluto, taken as the planet rotated through a 6.4-day period, show that Pluto is a complex object, with more large-scale contrast than any planet, except Earth. Topographic features such as basins, or fresh impact craters may cause some of the variations across Pluto's surface.

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Credit: Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute), Marc Buie (Lowell Observatory), NASA and ESA