Tuesday was an exciting day for science, as the New Horizons spacecraft collected detailed images of Pluto as well as data on its surface temperature and composition. But was also a big day for art.

One of those responding artistically to the flyby was Stella Maria Baer, a New Haven-based painter. She’s been painting moons since the “blood moon” of April 2014, and says that when she heard that New Horizons would be sending back new images of Pluto and its moon Charon, she knew she’d want to paint them.

“Seeing these bodies that are so far from us,” she said, is in a way “the closest we get to a collective secular spiritual experience.”

She painted watercolors of Pluto and Charon with the images from New Horizons on her computer screen next to the canvas, so she could refer back to them. “I’m trying to stay as true to the images as possible while also allowing for unexpected moments in the paint,” she said.


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