This is the first movie created by New Horizons to reveal color surface features of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. "It's a bit unusual to see so much surface detail at this distance," said New Horizons co-investigator William McKinnon, a member of the mission's Geology and Geophysics Investigation team, from Washington University in Saint Louis. "What's especially noteworthy is the level of detail in both bodies. It's certainly whetting our appetite for what's to come."
The images were taken between June 23 and June 29, 2015, as New Horizons' distance to Pluto decreased from a distance of 15 million to 11 million miles (24 million to 18 million kilometers). Six high-resolution black-and-white images from New Horizons' Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) instrument were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to produce the movie.