New Horizons Spies Its Next Target Beyond Pluto — from 100 Million Miles Away

The New Horizons booster is on a proceed to a apart solar complement intent and has speckled a end — on a initial try and from some-more than 100 million miles (170 million kilometers) away.

The booster achieved that attainment on Aug. 16, promulgation a array of 48 images behind to Earth. New Horizons is on a way to fly by a little icy Kuiper Belt intent called and nicknamed Ultima Thule. These images, expelled by NASA yesterday (Aug. 28), show, on a left, a plcae of a intent centered in a crosshairs and, on a right, a same picture with stellar liughtness subtracted out.

“We now have Ultima in a sights from most over out than once suspicion possible,” Alan Stern, a principal questioner for New Horizons and a heavenly scientist during a Southwest Research Institute, said in a NASA statement. “We are on Ultima’s doorstep, and an extraordinary scrutiny awaits!”

Being means to simply mark a intent with 4 months still left in a spacecraft’s tour suggests that a group has a good grasp of where accurately 2014 MU69 is and where it’s going. This is severe in and of itself, given that a intent was detected usually 4 years ago and is located 1 billion miles (1.6 billion km) over Pluto.

And if spotting a little hunk of stone from 100 million miles divided doesn’t sound tough enough, cruise a perfect series of stars that are in a same margin of perspective — including one right subsequent to a object, directly to a right and next it in a left-hand image.

“It unequivocally is like anticipating a needle in a haystack,” Hal Weaver, a New Horizons plan scientist during a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, pronounced in a statement. “In these initial images, Ultima appears usually as a strike on a side of a credentials star that’s roughly 17 times brighter, though Ultima will be removing brighter — and easier to see — as a booster gets closer.”

And New Horizons will only keep removing closer until Jan. 1, 2019, when it will make a closest proceed to a object.

Email Meghan Bartels during mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original essay on Space.com.

Article source: https://www.space.com/41652-new-horizons-2014-mu69-photo-100-million-miles-away.html


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