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Space & Astronomy

Clearest image yet of Ultima Thule revealed

January 26, 2019 | Comment icon 8 comments



There is still much we don't know about Ultima Thule. Image Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University
The data gathered by New Horizons earlier this month is starting to unravel the mysteries of this enigmatic object.
With a mass approximately 10,000 times that of the comet visited by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, MU69 (or Ultima Thule) is around 30 miles in diameter and orbits the Sun once every 295 years.

Until now, no spacecraft had ever visited this - or any other - object situated so far out in the solar system, making the mission's findings particularly enticing.

This latest image, which was taken by the probe's wide-angle Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), shows the two 'lobes' of Ultima Thule in more detail than ever before.
The object is unusual because it is made up of two separate objects that have joined together.

"This new image is starting to reveal differences in the geologic character of the two lobes of Ultima Thule, and is presenting us with new mysteries as well," said Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

"Over the next month there will be better color and better resolution images that we hope will help unravel the many mysteries of Ultima Thule."

Source: jhuapl.edu | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
Quite a lot of space news in the past few years ! I like it !
Comment icon #2 Posted by OverSword 3 years ago
The process of targeting this flyby was really amazing. It hadn’t even been discovered when New Horizons was launched. PBS had a documentary about it a couple of days after it happened. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by bison 3 years ago
The large circular marking on the larger lobe of this object has provoked a good deal of comment. It doesn't look too much like a crater. Two sections of its circumference, about opposite each other, appear to made up of double lines. The circle looks a bit lopsided, but seems to have an almost mirror image symmetry, across a line through its center, pointed in the direction of the cleft near one side of the 'neck' region which connects the greater and lesser lobes. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 3 years ago
Part of the process anyway. It shows how planetesimals can join together, as a result or gravitational attraction, to form larger bodies and eventually planets. Ultima Thule seems to confirm what scientists have long believed. It is believed that planetesimals  formed from objects (basically giant rocks) around 200 metres in diameter merging to form objects such as we see with Ultima. As more and more join together the mass increases so there is more gravitational attraction, the objects grow and planetesimals evrntually form. Planetesimals then collide and merge (as seems to bè the case with ... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by PrisonerX 3 years ago
Occultist terminology, yet again.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thule_Society
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 3 years ago
Off topic, total nonsense yet again...   Source: Collins English Dictionary    Source: NASA
Comment icon #7 Posted by PrisonerX 3 years ago
Off topic? Sure, it's a deviation, I won't deny that. Total nonsense? Not at all. You'd know that if you had any knowledge of occult influence.  But with respect to your first (and only valid) criticism, I'll leave it at that. Interesting article, thanks for sharing. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Gomar 3 years ago
Thank God! Now back to eatin' popcorn.


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