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Why can't we take a high resolution picture of Pluto?

I've seen some amazing pictures Hubble has taken of distant galaxies, that are so detailed you can make out stars, or star clusters(i'm not sure which it is). When I googled a Hubble Picture of pluto it gave me this pixely image of pluto....so if we can take a good picture of something that's millions of light years away why can't we take a picture of something that's only a few billion miles away? Is light an issue?

14 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago

    Pluto is extremely far away, out there in the Kwiper asteroid belt, at the edge of our solar system. Very small - not a Planet but a Planetoid. Too far away and too small to reflect much light. And it is always in motion. Compared with Pluto, the galaxies, being so much further away, seem completely still from a photographer's point of view. I wouldn't expect to see high-res pictures of Pluto until NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reaches Pluto in 2015.

  • 1 decade ago

    Those galaxies, nebula, and other astronomical phenomena are so beautifully photographed because they are producing their own light. The galaxies are filled with a massive amount of stars which gives off a great deal of light, this goes for the different types of nebula which are usually reflecting light by their nearby stars. Hubble can fix itself on these objects for great deals of time, in order to 'soak up' as much light from them as possible, helping getting a more detailed look. However the problem with Pluto is it does not produce its own light. It simply reflects the light from our Sun - just like every other object in our solar system we can see. The moon at night is creating light, it simply has a bright surface great for reflecting light - this is what creates the phases - the position of the moon in relation to the sun. When we see Venus' cloudy atmosphere reflecting in early mornings it is simply light reflecting from the Sun. Even the moons around Jupiter are seen only because of our sun. The problem with Pluto is its distance from the sun, and the small amount of surface area reflecting that little amount of light. This is why even the most technologically advanced photographs of Pluto seem grainy and poor.

  • 1 decade ago

    The angular size of the details we can see on Pluto, is the same as the angular size of the details we can see in distant galaxies. Hubble's angular resolution is 0.05 arcsecond. We can see individual stars in distant galaxies, not because the stars are big, but because the distance between the stars is big. When that distance is more than 0.10 arcseconds, Hubble can see the dark space between the stars. When the distance is less, then the two stars blur into each other. Hubble can't see details on the _surface_ of the stars.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Illumination is the problem, remember by the time light from the sun gets there it is very dim, then it has to be bounced back to the camera. Results dim picture, on the other hand you have galaxies that are a source of light with billions of stars burning bright, a banquet for the retina of any telescope or camera.

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  • 1 decade ago

    the problem is those distant galaxies are huge, thousands of lightyears across, but pluto is tiny, not much bigger than earths moon. Galaxies produce alot of their own light, from the stars withing them, but pluto can only reflect the light it recieves from the sun. It is so far away, this light is immensley tiny, and pluto isnot exactly made of highly reflective material!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    To put it simply, Pluto's extremely small and dark.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because Pluto is camera shy.

  • 1 decade ago

    too small, too far away

    it would be like trying to take a picture of one grain of sand on a beach

  • ?
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Because it is just too small for even hubble to get a clear image. I used to wonder the same thing as you.

  • 1 decade ago

    We will have to send a light source or space flash bulb.

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