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New Horizons zooming in...


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https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ultima-in-view-nasa-s-new-horizons-makes-first-detection-of-kuiper-belt-flyby-target Very exciting!

Amazing new evidence regarding the shape of Ultima Thule! Latest release

So it's a 'contact binary' ? My question would be 'if the two individual bits had enough gravity to become round, why hasn't the combined object become round?  

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When it flew past Pluto & Charon, I remember someone describing it as being like sinking a 3500 mile hole-in-one without being totally sure where the hole was when you struck the ball. This is truly remarkable.

The image on the right it definately looks double to me, but no mention of that in the article. Artifact? A moon? Anyone know?

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Thanks Derek, hasn’t seen that at all! Amazing stuff that they can even see it, let alone get New Horizons accurately to fly by it!

I suspect any ‘doubleness’ is a result of the complex way they have had to subtract long exposure images to find it.

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Interesting release, I find these pixel heavy images hard to read and have an element of doubt over highly processed images 'showing' what the operator is expecting.
Sorry to be a doubter, but I will get more excited once its closer and more obvious.
Impressive that anything has been resolved though, holds promise.

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Very cool indeed - great to see the pretty 'raw' images... all those background stars and the not-quite-perfect but very effective subtraction technique to reveal Ultima.

Thanks for posting :thumbsup:

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This reminds me of the pictures we looked at a year or so before NH reached Pluto. We kept seeing a blurred potato with a possible twin potato in pixelated images labelled as "the best pictures we have". Jump from there to the close-up images of Pluto and Charon we have now and just imagine what is to come from the next target ?

Edited by DRT
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I guess the knowledge gained from such ventures as this, will one day serve a practical, and rewarding purpose for mankind and science.
It isn't too far in the recent past, that projects like this were in the realms of science fiction, so we have to be confident that
more forays into deep space will bring surprises we could not have dreamed of not too long ago.
I salute the scientists and engineers who conceive , and put these spectacular events before us.
It's all great stuff indeed. I just wish I was a teenager again ?.

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18 hours ago, impactcrater said:

another first in our lifetime ! you do have to hand it to the Americans...

To be fair, ESA also does amazing missions. Mars Express, Venus Express, Giotto, Hipparchos, Gaia, Trace Gas Orbiter, Huygens...

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What amazes me is the incredible density of stars in the unsubtracted image, it looks like frogspawn!

So closest pass is 5:33 on New Year's Day.

I bet a few SGL'rs will be grateful for the time delay of about five hours for the sluggish radio signal to reach Earth ?

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  • 3 months later...

Latest update. FLO retweeted news from Alan Stern about a new mission website design    see here    looking good with rendezvous count down 

On 30/08/2018 at 19:46, Stub Mandrel said:

So closest pass is 5:33 on New Year's Day.

I bet a few SGL'rs will be grateful for the time delay of about five hours for the sluggish radio signal to reach Earth ?

To start with I was half expecting to do an `all nighter` and scrape myself off the floor after the New Years Eve party to watch the fly past coverage at 5 in the morning, but of course, the time delay puts it just right for breakfast viewing. Can`t wait, New Horizons has been an amazing mission, with still more to deliver.

Edited by Phil Fargaze
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  • 2 weeks later...

I was looking at the MU69 picture of the day page here and the NH team remind us of the constraints regarding sending images across such a large distance.  So if I understand correctly it is going to be two days before we get the close up images of when Ultima Thule is revealed to us. Anyway, what is always a joy to watch is the extreme tension in the control room give way to emotional celebration once they get confirmation that the mission has succeeded. 

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Well, I can understand why they would want to concentrate on getting images rather than transmitting them during the flyby itself. But why it takes two days to receive an image from something (fractionally over) 6 light-hours away - I'm not sure how that works.

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1 hour ago, Demonperformer said:

Well, I can understand why they would want to concentrate on getting images rather than transmitting them during the flyby itself. But why it takes two days to receive an image from something (fractionally over) 6 light-hours away - I'm not sure how that works.

Very low data transmission rates I should think?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not a lot new from NASA? But there is the "anomaly" in the light curve?!? ;)
https://phys.org/news/2018-12-horizons-scientists-puzzled-lack-kuiper.html
And it will be going significantly closer in than the previous "safer" distance.
https://phys.org/news/2018-12-horizons-spacecraft-ultima-thule.html

Just noted that should the (US) Govt. shutdown continue(?) there will be no
NASA TV, but live coverage will be available on: John Hopkins APL Youtube.
See pluto.jhuapl.edu for (not secure?) link? ?

Edited by Macavity
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