Pluto's Blue Atmosphere Up Close

PHOTO: An image created by NASAs New Horizons spacecraft in 2015 and released on Jan. 29, 2016 shows Plutos atmosphere in infrared wavelengths.PlayNASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
WATCH New Horizons Spacecraft Makes Historic Flyby of Pluto

Pluto's blue atmosphere is seen in a stunning new infrared photo released by NASA.

The photo allows scientists to gain a better understanding of Pluto's atmosphere by using infrared wavelengths to make the invisible visible. Taken by the New Horizons probe on July 14, 2015, from 112,000 miles away, the photo shows a prominent blue ring around the dwarf planet.

NASA said the blue ring around Pluto is created by sunlight scattering from haze particles in the atmosphere. The haze is believed to be a photochemical smog created by sunlight hitting methane and other particles on the dwarf planet.

The white parts in the photo are the result of sunlight bouncing off Pluto's most reflective and smooth areas, according to NASA.

The photo is just the latest in a trove of information NASA gathered after its New Horizons probe passed Pluto on July 14, 2015.

The piano-sized probe is speeding through the Kuiper Belt, an area at the edge of Earth's solar system. After the intensive data transmission process, NASA is considering another flyby of a Kuiper belt object known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto.

New Horizons loses a few watts of power each year, according to NASA, but is estimated to have as much as 20 years left in its life expectancy.