See the best color image of Pluto taken just before New Horizons flyby

As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approached Pluto for the much-anticipated flyby at 7:49 AM ET this morning, the agency released the final and best color image of Pluto yet to be taken. And because Pluto is such a social media celebrity, NASA even posted the image to Instagram first. The photo offer a stunningly clear look at Pluto, as it was taken from only 476,000 miles away, NASA said, at roughly 4:00 PM ET on July 13th.

The Instagram image is the only one available at this time, but NASA says it will release the high-resolution version shortly after the flyby is complete. The Instagram posting marks the first time NASA has shared an image on a social network first, rather than publishing it itself.

Incredible details can be seen for the first time in the new image, including craters and Pluto's equatorial belt. NASA says it will share more photos throughout the week, starting with a briefing on NASA Television later this morning, and the release of a large set images later in September.

New Horizons' flyby is said to bring the spacecraft as close as 7,500 miles to the dwarf planet, and while there is a 1 in 10,000 change the spacecraft will collide with debris, those at mission control remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

SOURCE: NASA/Instagram