New high resolution images of Ultima Thule


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Highest resolution image of Ultima Thule
Click for full resolution image.

The New Horizons team has released new high resolution images of Ultima Thule, taken during its fly-by on January 1, 2019.

These new images of Ultima Thule – obtained by the telephoto Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) just 6½ minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach to the object (officially named 2014 MU69) at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1 – offer a resolution of about 110 feet (33 meters) per pixel.

…The higher resolution brings out a many surface features that weren’t readily apparent in earlier images. Among them are several bright, enigmatic, roughly circular patches of terrain. In addition, many small, dark pits near the terminator (the boundary between the sunlit and dark sides of the body) are better resolved. “Whether these features are craters produced by impactors, sublimation pits, collapse pits, or something entirely different, is being debated in our science team,” said John Spencer, deputy project scientist from SwRI.

Available at the link above is a three-second long movie they created from these images, showing Ultima Thule as it zips across the camera’s view.

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2 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    Finally found out why the name “Ultima Thule” is found objectionable by a group of want to be outraged at everything cretins. Turns out there was a “Thule Society” which helped lay the foundations of Nazidom in post-WW1 Germany,
    although it never attracted even 2000 members. There are all sorts of conspiracy theories about it and it is a popular boogieman in thrillers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thule_Society. These fools held this up and claimed that the planetoid name was a “dog-whistle” for white supremacists (it sure looks like the people who level such accusations are on a witch hunt, according to them, there are an amazing number of white power signals and symbols everywhere in our society)

    Of course “Ultima Thule’ dates back thousands of years to the Romans and has nothing to do with Nazis or white supremacists.

    Rather reminds of the Washington political staffer who lost his job because of the morons who protested his use of the word “niggardly” – meaning terribly small as in “his niggardly pension”,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_about_the_word_%22niggardly%22#Public_response

  • Judy

    Looks like Little Boy Blue’s hand with thumb stuck in a plum!

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