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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Hugh Bollinger

Moonrise, Pluto

    Moonrise, Hernandez NM (credit: Wikipedia/Ansel Adams)

One of the most famous photographs ever created by the master photographer, Ansel Adams, is simply known as Moonrise, Hernandez. Adams captured the midnight scene while driving past the hamlet using the last negative in his box camera before clouds obscured the view. Original prints of Adam's photograph sell for thousands of dollars today.

In July 2015, NASA New Horizons probe flew past the distant solar system object, Pluto, after a journey of nearly 10 years and over 3 billion miles. The mission's scientists obtained a trove of images of the mysterious dwarf planet including their first and only images of the night region of the dwarf planet, using the light from Charon, Pluto's large moon. Charon was illuminated by a Sun but 1,000 times more faint than the Earth's moon. The Charon derived images gave the only view of Pluto’s south polar region, currently in the midst of a decades-long winter.

An illustrator has created an artist's rendering of what "moonrise" on Pluto might look like to someone standing on Pluto's frozen south polar landscape.

         Artist concept, Charon moonrise from Pluto (credit: NASA-New Horizons)

Scientific discoveries by the New Horizons spacecraft have been amazing and are continuing to be made from the data gathered by the New Horizons mission. However, it will be interesting to see if Moonrise, Pluto photographs can ever taken from the ground of that distant world itself. Pluto looks as eerie as New Mexico did on another moonlit night long ago. WHB


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