This week the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) opened its protective cover and took its first image in space, of Messier 7, a star cluster in our Milky Way galaxy.
LORRI is a panchromatic high-magnification imager, consisting of a telescope with an 8.2-inch (20.8-centimeter) aperture that focuses visible light onto a charge-coupled device (CCD). It's essentially a digital camera with a large telephoto telescope, only fortified to operate in the cold, hostile environs near Pluto. LORRI has no color filters or moving parts; operators take images by pointing the LORRI side of the spacecraft at their target. The instrument's silicon carbide construction kept its mirror focused even after the its temperature plunged by more than 120 degrees F (50 degrees C) once the door opened. LORRI is now approximately at the same temperature it will be when takes close-up images of Pluto nine years from now.