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And out to the Kuiper Belt, or anyway Pluto - Hubble pictures remind me a bit of those fuzzy Mars pictures prevalent back in the Old Stone Age when I was a kid. (Ok, the '50s. Close enough.) Showing the same sort of thing too - seasonal changes. Driven apparently by location in orbit as much as or more than axial tilt, showing up in colors of dark orange, white and black (lookie - calico planet!)

New Hubble Maps of Pluto Show Surface Changes

ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — NASA has released the most detailed set of images ever taken of the distant dwarf planet Pluto. The images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show an icy and dark molasses-colored, mottled world that is undergoing seasonal changes in its surface color and brightness.

Pluto has become significantly redder, while its illuminated northern hemisphere is getting brighter. These changes are most likely consequences of surface ices sublimating on the sunlit pole and then refreezing on the other pole as the dwarf planet heads into the next phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle. The dramatic change in color apparently took place in a two-year period, from 2000 to 2002.

The Hubble images will remain our sharpest view of Pluto until NASA's New Horizons probe is within six months of its Pluto flyby. The Hubble pictures are proving invaluable for picking out the planet's most interesting-looking hemisphere for the New Horizons spacecraft to swoop over when it flies by Pluto in 2015.


see link for rest of article and pictures and stuff.