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Mountains and Plains on Charon

Perspective view of mountain ridges and volcanic plains on Pluto’s large moon Charon.

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Tenzig Montes

Perspective view of Pluto’s highest mountains, Tenzing Montes, along the western margins of Sputnik Planitia, which rise 3-6 kilometers above the smooth nitrogen-ice plains in the foreground.

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Charon Discovery 40 Years Later

Forty years after his important discovery, Jim Christy holds two of the telescope images he used to spot Pluto’s large moon Charon in June 1978. A close-up photo of Charon, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft during its July 2015 flyby, is displayed on his computer screen.

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Charon: Then and Now

What a difference 40 years makes. An enhanced color image of Charon from data gathered by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015 shows a range of diverse surface features, significantly transforming our view of a moon discovered in 1978 as a "bump" on Pluto (inset) in a set of grainy telescope images.

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Jim Christy Discovery in 1978

Jim Christy points to the photographic plate on which he discovered Pluto's largest moon, Charon, in 1978.

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Exiting Hibernation

Flight controllers Graeme Keleher and Anisha Hosadurga, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, monitor New Horizons shortly after confirming the NASA spacecraft had exited hibernation on June 5, 2018.

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Charon's First Official Feature Names

Map projection of Charon, the largest of Pluto's five moons, annotated with its first set of official feature names. With a diameter of about 755 miles, the Texas-sized moon is one of largest known objects in the Kuiper Belt, the region of icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune.

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