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Sun provides dramatic backlighting for latest Pluto pictures

  • This July 14

  • This July 14, 2015 photo released by NASA on Thursday shows the atmosphere and surface features of Pluto, lit from behind by the sun. It was made 15 minutes after the New Horizons' spacecraft's closest approach. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. » The newest pictures of Pluto are so up-close and personal that the mission’s top scientist says it "makes you feel you are there."

NASA released the photos Thursday. The images were gathered by the New Horizons spacecraft that swept past the dwarf planet in July.

Pluto’s curvature is featured in the latest pictures, with the sun providing dramatic backlighting. Rugged terrain is shown, as is the extended atmosphere of the tiny orb on the frigid outskirts of the solar system. The panorama stretches 780 miles.

Principal scientist Alan Stern says the pictures shed new light on Pluto’s mountains, glaciers and plains.

Johns Hopkins University operates New Horizons, the world’s first visitor to Pluto. The spacecraft is now 48 million miles beyond Pluto.

Johns Hopkins:

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