New Horizons reveals a 'snowman' at the edge of the solar system

03 January, 2019, 07:26 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Icy Ultima Thule, far beyond Pluto, looks like a snowman

The small world, 6.5 billion km from Earth, is actually two objects joined together.

"It's a snowman!" lead scientist Alan Stern informed the world at a news conference.

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory said the picture was the "most detailed image of the farthest object ever explored by a spacecraft". At right, the colour has been overlaid onto the LORRI image to show the colour uniformity of the Ultima and Thule lobes.

And the images confirmed what observations using the Hubble Space Telescope had suggested as New Horizons scientists scouted Ultima Thule - that, like parts of Pluto and its moon Charon, it has a rusty hue. Scientists speculated that it could be single, likely elongated object, or two objects closely orbiting each other.

The last time we saw Utlima Thule, it was a blur against the blackness of space, something not almost convincing enough of its existence.

"What we'll very soon learn about this primordial building block of our solar system will exponentially expand our knowledge of this relatively unknown third region of space", Stern said. The larger sphere, which the team has now dubbed "Ultima", is 12 miles (19 km) wide, while the smaller one, "Thule", measures 9 miles (14.5 km) across. He joked that if they were cars, "you probably wouldn't fill out the insurance form".

The longevity of New Horizon's plutonium battery may even allow it to record its exit from the Solar System.

Rumours: PSG hold talks with Arsenal's Ramsey about potential January move
Ramsey to Juventus will be a cool deal only if they could pull through for the price, and would add extra boost to their defence. Juventus legend Andrea Pirlo has reportedly backed the Italian champions to land Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey this summer.

TV actor Dipika Kakar stumps Sreesanth to win Bigg Boss 12
Dipika gave a strong competition to former cricketer and co-contestant Sreesanth , who turned out to be the runner-up of the show. This is no secret that Bigg Boss is one of the most popular reality TV show that has a massive fan following across the nation.

Toby Alderweireld's Tottenham contract will be extended, confirms Mauricio Pochettino
Until the market is open it's hard to talk because now we have a lot of games to play. "We are public persons". It's true, the season when Leicester were there the sympathy for Leicester was bigger than for Tottenham .

"This is the first object we can clearly tell was born this way, and didn't evolve to look this way", Stern said.

Researchers say that the so-called "contact binary" could help yield clues about how other planets formed. Moore said that the shape of that cometary nucleus could also be explained by activity as cometary ice sublimates. The left image is a combination of near infrared, red and blue channels, taken by the spacecraft's low-resolution Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). Ultima Thule rotates about once every 15 hours, the scientists determined. That could be explained if the neck contains fine-grained particles that settle there from both lobes.

The images have been taken from as close as 17,000 miles, though it will take days for the high-resolution photos to be uploaded to Earth, given the bandwidth limitations of moving data across the span of the entire solar system.

New Horizons will get even more up close and personal with Ultima soon - as soon as tomorrow - with at least one image expected to come in at nearly 200 miles per pixel. New Horizons is so far away it can only send data at about 2,000 bits per second, so it took time to get the new, higher-quality images.

Also on its way back to Earth are spectral data collected by the spacecraft.

The object itself is as dark as potting soil, said Cathy Olkin, deputy project scientist from the Southwest Research Institute. In just the last day some members of the public expressed reservations about the name because of ties to Nazi ideology.

Recommended:



Popular

In u-turn, R Ashwin's named in India's 13 for Sydney Test
Indian middle-order's contribution is also one of the biggest factors which makes India favourites to win the series. Fox Sports and Channel Seven will telecast the fourth Test of the series across Australia .

Trump Defends Decision to Withdraw Troops From Syria
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's withdrawal plans and if there were any official changes to them.

7-year-old killed in drive-by near Houston-area Walmart identified
The Sheldon Independent School District identified the girl as a second-grader at the nearby Monahan Elementary School. The sheriff said he had never met the 7-year-old but noticed her "million-dollar smile" in photographs.

Marnus Labuschagne added in Australia squad for fourth India Test
In the fourth innings, India once again struck early and all the bowlers got into the act to set up a memorable victory. Meanwhile, India will be looking to build on the momentum and will leave no stone unturned to make it 3-1 at the SCG.

Nadal loses to Anderson
There are a few things here and there that I need to work on but pleased with the quality of my game throughout the tournament. However, Djokovic broke his rival right back in the next game and went on to take the set 6-4.

Suspect Arrested In Killing Of California Police Officer
A suspect police are searching for in connection to the fatal shooting of an officer during a traffic stop in Northern California. Christianson said Singh was conducting a traffic stop for a suspicion of driving under the influence when the shooting occurred.

Tenshin Nasukawa issues statement after stoppage loss to Floyd Mayweather
For now, we only can take Mayweather at his word that he'll stay retired and his 50-0 record will remain etched in history. Floyd Mayweather had his way with Tenshin Nasukawa during today's exhibition boxing bout at Rizin FF 14.

Merkel, Macron demand Russian Federation release Ukrainian sailors
Ukrainian wheat, sunflower oil, bread, jam and wine were also barred, the Russian government announced on Saturday. Earlier this week, the sailors declared themselves to be prisoners of war and refused to give statements.

Russian Federation detains U.S. citizen on suspicion of spying
The FSB said the man was caught "during an espionage operation" without giving further details. Russian Federation has been entangled in multiple spy scandals in the West.

Sheriff: Suspected cop killer 'should have been reported to ICE'
Christianson said Singh was conducting a traffic stop for a suspicion of driving under the influence when the shooting occurred. When a gunfight broke out, Singh tried to defend himself but apparently did not hit the suspect , Christianson said.