Getting our bearings

The first step in checking out these new pictures of Pluto is to first figure out what we're looking at. We can figure out what part of Pluto is visible. We can figure out where the satellite, Charon, will be and how far apart they are. We can also figure out how big they should be in the image. Once we know what to expect for Pluto, we then need to understand the actual images. HST is a spacecraft and doesn't know anything about "up" or "down" like we do here on Earth. That means the pictures can be rotated to just about any orientation. These steps of predicting and then understanding the pictures is called navigating.

Pluto at the time of the images.

The raw images.

A sky-plane roadmap.

Now, the navigation is essentially complete. There isn't much we can do with the image of Charon so you won't see this again in the following steps. Next we're off to looking in detail at the Pluto image.

Back to my home page, Pluto page, LFHST page, Analysis Table of Contents.

Marc W. Buie, Southwest Research Institute