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The most detailed images of Ultima Thule -- obtained just minutes before the spacecraft's closest approach at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1 -- have a resolution of about 110 feet (33 meters) per pixel. Their combination of higher spatial resolution and a favorable viewing geometry offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the surface of Ultima Thule, believed to be the most primitive object ever encountered by a spacecraft. This processed, composite picture combines nine individual images taken with the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), each with an exposure time of 0.025 seconds, just 6 ½ minutes before the spacecraft’s closest approach to Ultima Thule (officially named 2014 MU69). The image was taken at 5:26 UT (12:26 a.m. EST) on Jan. 1, 2019, when the spacecraft was 4,109 miles (6,628 kilometers) from Ultima Thule and 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion kilometers) from Earth. The angle between the spacecraft, Ultima Thule and the Sun – known as the “phase angle” – was 33 degrees. Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory

The sharpest views of Ultima Thule

The scientists behind NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have released the sharpest possible view of the Ultima Thule. Just before making the closest approach to...
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...
An artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering Ultima Thule (2014 MU69), a Kuiper Belt object that orbits one billion miles beyond Pluto, on Jan. 1, 2019. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Steve Gribben

NASA spaceship to capture most distant world explored yet on New Year’s Day

NASA's unmanned New Horizons spacecraft is closing its memorable New Year's flyby target, the most distant world at any point examined, a frozen relic...
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...

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