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Home / Science / NASA introduces a new, high-quality new horizon image of the Ultima Thule "Snowman" asteroid

NASA introduces a new, high-quality new horizon image of the Ultima Thule "Snowman" asteroid



By Popular Mechanics

The New Horizons probe became famous in 2015 for its Pluto flyby, but here in 2019, discoveries were made that are as fascinating a distant asteroid that goes far beyond Pluto, the NASA's Ultima Thule is called. The day after the flyby, NASA released a picture of the asteroid, which revealed that it was snowman shaped. Now they are releasing an even higher quality image that shows all the tiny details of Ultima Thule and explains some of their secrets.

This higher-resolution image solves one of the problems with NASA's January 2 picture. This image was taken when the sun was directly behind the spaceship, so no shadows are visible. This made it impossible for NASA to determine the terrain of Ultima Thule. In direct sunlight, hills or craters would appear flat to the spacecraft.

This new photo was taken a little later during the flyby and shows a lateral light perspective. This view highlights the contours of Ultima Thule, including a prominent crater on the smaller of the two lobes. While at first glance it looks like a killing crater, NASA says it could also be caused by an internal collapse.

On the border between day and night, the image shows a cluster of small craters almost certainly caused by impacts. These small craters are important because astronomers can estimate the number of small asteroids floating in this part of the solar system. Such asteroids are so small and far away that we can not miss them with telescopes, so the implications for a larger asteroid are proof that they even exist.

This is only the beginning of many New Horizons data Send back in the next few months, and future downloads will contain even better images and data of all kinds to help scientists learn more about this mysterious outer region of our solar system ,

Source: NASA

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