SCIENCE

Relive The Pluto Flyby With This Brilliant 16-Second Animation

There's even a cameo from the dwarf planet's moon, Charon.

NASA made history last month when its New Horizons spacecraft zoomed past Pluto at a distance of only 7,750 miles. And now space enthusiasts around the world can relive the awe-inspiring moment with a new video (above) that simulates the flyby from the spacecraft's point of view.

Iceland-based software engineer Björn Jónsson built the animation using data and images of the dwarf planet released by NASA--and the view is pretty detailed.

"Pluto's atmosphere is included and should be fairly realistic from about 10 seconds into the animation and to the end," Jónsson says in the video's description. "Earlier it is largely just guesswork that can be improved in the future once all data has been downlinked from the spacecraft."

(Story continues below GIF.)

Pluto's moon Charon also appears in the video.

"Light from Pluto's satellite Charon illuminates Pluto's night side but is exaggerated here, in reality it would be only barely visible or not visible at all," Jónsson says in the description.

Now that it's left Pluto behind, the New Horizons craft is heading deeper into the Kuiper Belt, the vast region of primordial debris that encircles our solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune. 

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