Monday, 25 March, 2019

Live Updates On The New Horizons Flyby Of Ultima Thule

How to watch NASA's New Year's date with distant space rock New Horizons Probe Flies By Distant Asteroid Ultima Thule - NASA
Sandra Phillips | 02 January, 2019, 05:58

Ten hours after the middle-of-the-night encounter 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) away, flight controllers in Laurel, Maryland, received word from the spacecraft late Tuesday morning.

New Horizons zoomed past the small celestial object known as Ultima Thule (pronounced "TOO-lee") 3 ½ years after its spectacular brush with Pluto.

That makes Ultima different from Pluto, which was New Horizons' primary target back in 2015.

That new data should help clear up some outstanding questions scientists still have about this distant object - including whether that bowling pin shape actually masks two closely co-orbiting objects (not one integrated mass), and how long it takes the spinning object to complete a rotation. New Horizons sped past Ultima at a speed of 32,000 mph, coming as close as 2,200 miles.

Queen guitarist Brian May, who also happens to be an astrophysicist, joined the team at Johns Hopkins for a midnight premiere of the rock "n" roll song he wrote for the big event. For more updates, follow NASA New Horizons' Twitter account here.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back its closest view of the most distant world humanity has ever visited, Ultima Thule, a snapshot taken on December 31.

As the probe flies 3,500km above Thule's surface, scientists hope it will detect the chemical composition of its atmosphere and terrain in what Nasa says will be the closest observation of a body so remote.

'He asked if I could come up with a theme for Ultima Thule which could be played as the NH probe reached this new destination'.

Although the image provided a new look at Ultima Thule, it lacks detail.

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In January, a Florida player took home a $451 million prize, and in March a New Jersey resident brought in $533 million. If the money isn't claimed by late April, the money will return to the 44 states that hold Mega Millions lotteries.

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In Arkansas and Missouri, voters this fall approved ballot initiatives raising the minimum wage after state legislators did not. In Seattle, the minimum wage will be $16. "The minimum wage is such a simple, straightforward way to improve wages for people".

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New Horizons will make its closest approach in the wee hours of January 1 - 12:33 a.m. EST. New Horizons passed within a few thousand miles of the oblong space rock known as Ultima Thule just after the calendar page turned to 2019 on the East Coast, and it's a huge achievement for the space agency and astronomy community in general.

Dr. Stern added that while this week's images should be a dramatic improvement over what is now known about the Kuiper Belt, scientists will not have their best views downloaded until February.

Hal Weaver, a research professor at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and a project scientist on the New Horizons mission, said: "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

FILE - This composite image made available by NASA shows the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed "Ultima Thule," indicated by the crosshairs at center, with stars surrounding it on August 16, 2018, made by the New Horizons spacecraft.

Its mission now totalling $800 million, the baby grand piano-sized New Horizons will keep hurtling toward the edge of the solar system, observing Kuiper Belt Objects, or KBOs, from afar, and taking cosmic particle measurements.

Ultima Thule was named for a mythical, far-northern island in medieval literature and cartography, according to Nasa.

In addition to the webcast, Alan Stern and the rest of the New Horizons mission team continues to answer questions from the public in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) forum.

But eventually the science team expects to get detailed pictures - plus temperature readings, spectral analyses and particle counts - from a world that's thought to rank among the most primitive types of objects in the solar system.

We'll soon find out.

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