New Horizon Captures Pluto On Video
The New Horizons team working at NASA has launched Pluto’s first official video this week. The New Horizons team utilized the LEISA infrared imaging spectrometer to shoot this video of the planet. Through this new technology, the team managed to provide validation over the existence of water ice on Pluto. The existence of ammonia ice on Charon, which is the largest moon of Pluto, was also confirmed through this technique.
The team made this video at just under two frames per second (with a 256-by-256-pixel camera). The team has a scientific explanation for using the LEISA technology. According to NASA, the LEISA technology captures 2-D pictures, however, through a linearly-varying filter. NASA explained that the camera’s one side is capable of only capturing light of a particular wavelength of infrared light (light whose wavelength is longer than that visible through eyes). Furthermore, varied wavelengths are seen by different rows of pixels.
This extremely clever technique visually imitates the sight of looking through an infrared-based stained glass window. “By scanning this image sensor with its linear filter across a scene and quickly recording many images during the scan (like a movie), LEISA builds up a two-dimensional map of the scene in front of the camera with a measurement of the infrared spectrum (the brightness versus wavelength) at every location in the image”, according to NASA’s explanation. This complicated measurement is done with zero moving parts, which makes this technique extremely dependable to carry out deep-space operations.
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