Last image of NASA Ultima Thule shows many details


NASA's New Horizons mission is currently in the Kuiper belt, taking a look around. The spacecraft flew by an object called Ultima Thule, known formally as Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. The overfly of the object was on January 1.

The image seen here is the clearest image of Ultima Thule and was taken using the Multicolor Visible Imaging camera or the MVIC component of Ralph Instrument on the spacecraft. At the time the picture was taken, New Horizons was 4,200 miles away.

The official time stamp shows that the image was taken at 12:26 EST on January 1, just seven minutes before the object's closest approach. The original image had a resolution of 440 feet per pixel. The team used a process called deconvolution to improve image sharpness and enhance detail.

The problem is that the process increases the graininess of images taken at high levels of contrast. Near the top of the image, you can see the terminator, not a cyborg, but the line where there is the day / night border. We can also see small holes in the surface of the object that are about 0.4 miles in diameter.

The great circular feature in the smaller part of the object is about 4 kilometers in diameter. These features give a good idea of ​​the size of Ultima Thule. NASA says the series of light and dark patterns on the object is of unknown origin. Scientists are not sure if the holes on the surface are from impacts or from leaking volatile materials early in the life of the object.


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