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The Ultima Thule images of New Horizons show the true form



Given the vastness of space, it's no surprise that we know very little about it. Most of the time, we can only make assumptions based on images captured by our terrestrial telescopes and a few orbital satellites of celestial objects that only a few spacecraft have reached. It was not until New Horizons made its historic flyby of Pluto that we finally got a closer look at the fallen planet. Now, New Horizons says farewell to another neighbor, but not before scientists have given up new puzzles to deal with Ultima Thule.

Ultima Thule, formally called MU69 in 2014, is the world's farthest known Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) to date in our solar system. Or maybe it's better to say "worlds". Ultima Thule actually consists of two interconnected shapes, called "Ultima" and "Thule", which were initially considered spherical and nicknamed "Snowman". But like everything else in the universe, there seems to be nothing.

It's not so easy to get accurate photos of the full form of Ultima Thule, considering factors such as distance from the sun, the light-facing side and New Horizons 50,000 km / h speed. Add the fact that the spacecraft has used long shutter speeds to boost the signal level of the camera, and there are strong blurs. Thanks to some processing and tracking of which stars are blocked by the form of Ultima Thule, NASA scientists were better able to assess the body of KBO.

Instead of a snowman, Ultima Thule is better described as a dented walnut pancake. Of course, this is not a 1

00% accurate model, and the two objects may be flatter or larger than the new model suggests. The scientists are, however, sure that it is not a heavenly rock snowman.

They are not sure how the object was created that will remain the biggest puzzle they will solve in the coming days while they wait for New Horizons Last pictures to arrive. The form of Ultima Thule is so far unique in the solar system, and its origins could refine or change theories about the origin of the solar system itself.


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