New Horizons takes the most distant pictures from Earth ever taken

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Kuiper Belt Object 2012 HE85

The New Horizons science team has released three images taken by the spacecraft from almost 3.8 billion miles from Earth, the most distant images ever taken.

The routine calibration frame of the “Wishing Well” galactic open star cluster, made by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on Dec. 5, was taken when New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers, or 40.9 astronomical units) from Earth – making it, for a time, the farthest image ever made from Earth.

…LORRI broke its own record just two hours later with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 – further demonstrating how nothing stands still when you’re covering more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) of space each day.

The images themselves are not spectacular to look at, though the two images of two different Kuiper Belt objects are the best ever taken of such objects, and certainly contain data that scientists will be able to use. The image on the right is one of these objects, 2012 HE85. For example, note how it does not appear to be round.

This exercise is in preparation for the January 1, 2019 fly-by of 2014 MU69, where the images will be sharp and detailed, and provide us a good look at such a distant object.



  • Cotour

    Even from this distance you can still see the indictments that will be issued to those who have crossed the line and abused their sacred power and have threatened the Constitution.


  • Cotour: I know, and do not mind, that you mostly come to BtB to comment on political matters, not science. However, normally it makes sense to put the political comments where they belong, in my politically-related posts. What your comment above has to do with New Horizons taking pictures of objects beyond the orbit of Pluto escapes me entirely.

  • Steve Earle

    Funny Cotour! But Mr Z is right, the best thing about his site is that I can come and read the Political posts, get depressed and angry, then I can read Space posts like the one above and get amazed and optimistic!

    It’s best for my mental well-being when I can end on an Upbeat note….. LOL

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