NASA’s faraway space snowman has flat, not round, behind

New images of the distant Ultima Thule object have surprised scientists

1, 2019, file image made available by NASA shows the Kuiper belt object Ultima Thule, about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto, encountered by the New Horizons spacecraft.

While these are far from the final photos of Ultima Thule that New Horizons will send back, they do represent the spacecraft's last glimpses of the rock as it streaked away.

However, after images of the flying and spinning object were received, Ultima Thule has turned out to be different from the way it had been originally described at first glance.

"We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view", Alan Stern, principal investigator on the mission and scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, said in a news release. Now New Horizons is bidding farewell to another long-distance neighbor, but not before throwing scientists new puzzles to munch on about the odd Ultima Thule. As it turns out, both the large and small halves of the object (nicknamed "Ultima" and "Thule", respectively) aren't the orbs they were thought to be. This is something new for the scientific community and no similar object was discovered before, which leads to numerous questions.

"We've never seen anything like this orbiting the Sun".

The departure images were taken from a different angle than the approach photos, revealing fresh information about the weird celestial body. It first wowed Earth after a New Year's Day flyby that beamed back an image somewhat resembling a space snowman or BB-8.

Mickelson holds off Casey to win Pebble Beach Pro
There was never a reasonable chance to finish in his pro-am format, with mostly foursomes across the golf course. With the light failing on Sunday, Casey opted against trying to get the tournament finished.

North and South Korea to submit joint bid for 2032 Olympics
Most U.S. troops were withdrawn in 1949 but they returned the next year to fight alongside South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War. Prior to the signing, Betts paid a courtesy visit to Kang on behalf of the U.S.to brief them of the details of the agreement.

Warren: Trump ‘May Not Even Be Free Person’ by 2020 Presidential Election
Elizabeth Warren , D-Mass., waves to local residents as she arrives at an organizing event, Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He then noted Fox News' Brit Hume was among those not buying that Trump meant the Trail of Tears.

'Nothing quite like this has ever been captured in imagery'. The bottom view is the team's current best shape model for Ultima Thule. That glowing crescent visible in the darkness was actually blurred in the individual frames due to the extended exposure time used to give the camera's signal level a boost during what was a really rapid scan.

New Horizons flew within 2,200 miles of MU69, travelling at a speed of 32,200 mph.

This illustration shows NASA's old and new views of Ultima Thule.

To help bolster the calculation of the shape, the research team observed the background stars in the series of images and noted when they "blinked out", giving an indication of what shapes the two lobes were.

Data rate from New Horizons to Goldstone: 1.68 kb/sec.

Ultima Thule consists of two parts connected by a bridge that revolve around a common center of mass, not merging with each other. Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, said: "This will undoubtedly motivate new theories of planetesimal formation in the early solar system".

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Opec tightens its taps as global oil demand stalls
Feb 13, 2019 - 21:40
The country's average heavy crude price was also reported to be $56.29 since beginning of 2019 up to the report's publishing day. Even 1.5 million barrels puts Iran's economy in a bind and anything less than that will make the budget hard to manage.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Davis destroys Ruiz to retain WBA super featherweight world title
Feb 13, 2019 - 20:27
On New Years Eve, Mayweather returned to the ring by facing Nasukawa in a three-round exhibition but it didn't last long. He is fighting Tenshin in an exhibition match in Japan, in RIZIN. "I'm extremely proud of Tank", Mayweather said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tesla Model 3 Cars Enters Europe And China
Feb 13, 2019 - 20:17
The layoffs are a sign that demand for Model 3 in the United States has declined sharply as Tesla's federal tax relief runs out. In other words, turning of the heating system once temperatures came back to normal also stabilized the EV's range number.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Baltimores Ravens Agree To Trade Joe Flacco
Feb 13, 2019 - 20:10
Case Keenum signed a two-year, $36 million deal last offseason, but Denver missed the playoffs again. He is to be paid $18.5 million next season, $20.25 million in 2020 and $24.25 million in 2021.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NFL Leaning Toward Bears-Packers for 2019 Regular-Season Opener
Feb 13, 2019 - 19:30
He has won six championship rings with the Patriots , and as a defensive coordinator, he won two rings with the New York Giants . In order to understand Edelman's eventual Hall of Fame candidacy, one need only look back at the facts.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Man Utd hit with UEFA charge for Di Maria bottle incident
Feb 13, 2019 - 18:38
Paul Pogba was also sent off late on to complicate matters further for United , who will now be without him for the second leg. If you tease him, it does not make him weaker. "I thought he had a good relationship with the fans".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Guirado: France blown away by England in first half
Feb 13, 2019 - 17:44
Gatland said: 'For us, there is a bigger picture that we were looking at for the first two games (against France and Italy ). The die of England's go-to attacking tactic was cast in the opening exchanges and France failed to find any answers.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top BAFTA 2019: Kate Middleton, Vision In White, Sparkles In Princess Diana's Earrings
Feb 13, 2019 - 16:38
They were greeted at the entrance by the Royal Albert Hall's chief executive Craig Hassall before making their way to their seats. Kate has previously accompanied William twice to the BAFTAs .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Liverpool attack is impossible to defend against, insists Milner
Feb 13, 2019 - 16:27
He also has seven official assists in the league making him one of the most risky attacking players in Europe. The rise of Birmingham City has coincided with the appointment of Garry Monk in early April previous year .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Embattled Australian PM suffers historic defeat over refugees
Feb 13, 2019 - 15:22
This bloc of 75 was enough to pass the bill over the 73 government votes and another vote from Queensland independent Bob Katter. Meanwhile, Labor is aiming to ramp up penalties against bankers and financial institutions who break the law.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Acting Pentagon head on first Afghan trip
Feb 13, 2019 - 13:05
Shanahan said in late January that he saw "some very encouraging possibilities" in Khalilzad's negotiations with the Taliban . Just last week the insurgents killed some two dozen Afghan troops in an attack on an army base in northern Kunduz province.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump says China trade deal deadline could slide
Feb 13, 2019 - 07:13
China will likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of USA goods that it announced previous year in retaliation. The 10 percent on 200 billion goes up to 25 percent on March 1st.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Can Apex Legends really beat Fortnite? Twitch stats suggest it can
Feb 13, 2019 - 04:28
Despite all of the heights Apex Legends has already reached, it's clear that things won't be stopping anytime soon. The game debuted in October 2016 and was mostly praised for its single-player campaign.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Knee sprain not serious for Celtics' Irving
Feb 13, 2019 - 00:14
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Kyrie Irving's right knee sprain isn't serious and expected to be day-to-day. It's unacceptable for what we did with a team of our caliber".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Leeds teenager Clarke taken to hospital after touchline treatment
Feb 12, 2019 - 23:42
They sit a point ahead of Norwich who face rivals Ipswich on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Main Event HD and Sky Sports Football HD. Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa confirmed Clarke was feeling "better" in the dressing room but would be checked in hospital.