The most detailed Ultima Thule image obtained

NASA / Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Ultima Thule is the most distant object studied by people. It is located in the Kuiper Belt and has the official name 2014 MU 69 . On January 1, 2019, the NASA New Horizons probe made the closest possible approach to Ultima Thule, and until now, thanks to the data received by the device, we will learn new details about the object (for example, images sent recently by the probe showed that the object has a very unusual shape).

Recently, the probe sent the most detailed images of the object, taken about six minutes before the maximum approach, at a distance of about 6, 600 kilometers. Of the nine photographs, an image was compiled that shows the various details of the Ultima Thule.

Ultima Thule is a double contact system in which two bodies revolve around a single center of mass without merging with each other. Two parts of the object have a rather strange shape and do not look like spheres, as previously assumed: one of them resembles, rather, a pancake, the other - a crumpled walnut.

The data obtained during the rapprochement with Ultima Thule, New Horizons will be for approximately 20 months.

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