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Scientists’ understanding of Ultima Thule has changed as they review additional data. The “old view” in this illustration is based on images taken within a day of New Horizons’ closest approach to the Kuiper Belt object on Jan. 1, 2019, suggesting that both of “Ultima” (the larger section, or lobe) and “Thule” (the smaller) were nearly perfect spheres just barely touching each other. But as more data were analyzed, including several highly evocative crescent images taken nearly 10 minutes after closest approach, a “new view” of the object’s shape emerged. Ultima more closely resembles a “pancake,” and Thule a “dented walnut.” The bottom view is the team’s current best shape model for Ultima Thule, but still carries some uncertainty as an entire region was essentially hidden from view, and not illuminated by the Sun, during the New Horizons flyby. The dashed blue lines span the uncertainty in that hemisphere, which shows that Ultima Thule could be either flatter than, or not as flat as, depicted in this figure. Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The truly odd shape of Ultima Thule

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft offers an evocative series of an image- a departing view of the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule. Though these...
The first color image of Ultima Thule, taken at a distance of 85,000 miles (137,000 kilometers) at 4:08 Universal Time on January 1, 2019, highlights its reddish surface. At left is an enhanced color image taken by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), produced by combining the near infrared, red and blue channels. The center image taken by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) has a higher spatial resolution than MVIC by approximately a factor of five. At right, the color has been overlaid onto the LORRI image to show the color uniformity of the Ultima and Thule lobes. Note the reduced red coloring at the neck of the object. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

New Horizons mission reveals entirely new kind of world

On Jan.1, New Horizons made history with the first flyby New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World. Now, NASA scientists have revealed the first...
At left is a composite of two images taken by New Horizons' high-resolution Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), which provides the best indication of Ultima Thule's size and shape so far. Preliminary measurements of this Kuiper Belt object suggest it is approximately 20 miles long by 10 miles wide (32 kilometers by 16 kilometers). An artist's impression at right illustrates one possible appearance of Ultima Thule, based on the actual image at left. The direction of Ultima's spin axis is indicated by the arrows. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI; sketch courtesy of James Tuttle Keane

New Horizons successfully explores Ultima Thule

New Horizons made history with the flyby of Ultima Thule, a mysterious object 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion kilometers) from Earth in the Kuiper...
NASA’s new horizons makes first detection of Kuiper belt flyby target

NASA’s New horizons makes first detection of Kuiper belt flyby target

NASA's New Horizons rocket has influenced the first detection of its next flyby target, the Kuiper Belt object dubbed Ultima Thule, over four months...
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE The sun’s journey through the galaxy may build a wall of hydrogen near the edge of the solar system (curved line to the left of this illustration). The New Horizons spacecraft may have seen evidence of just such a wall.

New Horizons may have seen a glow at the solar system’s edge

New Horizons, an interplanetary space probe has recently captured an ultraviolet glow that seems to emanate from near the edge of the solar system....

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