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Home / Science / The latest NASA Ultima Thule image shows many details

The latest NASA Ultima Thule image shows many details



NASA's New Horizons mission is currently in the Kuiper belt, looking around a bit. The spacecraft flew past an object called Ultima Thule, officially known as the 2014 Kuiper Belt MU69. The flyby of the object was on the 1st of January.

The image seen here is the clearest image of Ultima Thule and was taken on the spaceship with the Ralph Instrument's Wide Angle Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera or MVIC component. At the time of shooting, New Horizons was 4,200 miles away.

The official timestamp indicates that the picture was taken on January 1 at 12:26 pm EST, just seven minutes before the next approach to the object. The original image had a resolution of 440 feet per pixel. The team used a process called deconvolution to sharpen the image and enhance fine details.

The catch is that the process increases the graininess of images taken with high contrast. At the top of the picture you can see the terminator, not a cyborg, but the line where the day / night limit exists. We can also see small depressions in the surface of the object, which have a diameter of about 0.4 miles.

The large circular element on the smaller part of the object has a diameter of about 4 miles. These features give a good idea of ​​the size of Ultima Thule. NASA says that the set of light and dark patterns is on the object of unknown origin. Scientists are not sure if the pits on the surface were caused by impacts or by the discharge of volatile substances earlier in the life of objects.


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