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Ultima Thule: A Rendezvous on the edge of the solar system

"Ultima Thule" is located 6.4 billion kilometers from earth. Today, the NASA probe "New Horizons flew past" with their cameras. Now researchers are waiting for the Transmission of the data.

"Ultima Thule" is still a puzzle: An object in the Depths of our solar system, maybe as much as 30 kilometers in diameter. The NASA probe "New Horizons" has taken the "Ultima Thule" is now in detail under the magnifying glass.

"The best time capsule we've ever had," enthuses the scientists, the star of "Ultima Thule".

chief scientist Alan Stern said previously: "We write history: This is the most distant object ever to be studied. Because of the cold temperatures, it is also the most original of the object, and therefore perhaps the best time capsule we've ever had, in order to understand the birth of our solar system and its planets."

one and a Half billion miles away from Pluto

The object is more than 6.4 billion kilometers from earth. It is located in the so-called Kuiper belt. This is a Ring of frozen Material that orbits the sun further away than all the planets. The probe "New Horizons" looked at in 2015, the dwarf planet Pluto, which is at the beginning of the Kuiper belt. "Ultima Thule" is located in the middle of it, one and a half billion kilometers from Pluto.

said The planetary scientist Cathy Olkin, there is still a lot of Details, but that will change in the coming days.

researchers know it is only since 2014 of the "Ultima Thule". It had been found by the space telescope "Hubble" on the search for an object with "New Horizons" could be investigated. The researchers can't yet say with certainty whether it's an object, or perhaps two, closely revolve around each other. Also, the exact color is still a mystery, said Olkin: "The color is important because it tells us what the surface is."

NASA celebrates the fly-by of "Ultima Thule".

Seven instruments in the Luggage

The probe "New Horizons" has not only made photos, it is equipped with seven instruments. You can investigate the atmosphere, temperature, or radiation measuring. However, the measurements were a challenge. "Ultima Thule" is small, "New Horizons" will be breezed over with a good 50,000 miles per hour. The distance to the "Ultima Thule" is 3500 kilometers. Team member John Spencer said before the flyby of the probe:

"It's dusk there, we have a dark object, we need long exposure times. We no longer have so much power, because the radio active power decreases. We need to be careful which Instrument is not running when, in order to avoid overloading the System."

Since 2006, on-the-go

"New Horizons" is already since 2006, on the go, your razor-sharp images of Pluto were a Sensation.

data need now, more than six hours from the probe to the earth. The first data are expected to arrive in the course of the day. However, you dribble, rather, It can just take up to two years, to "New Horizons" all data on "Ultima Thule" to earth has sparked.

NASA probe, explores the "Ultima Thule"
Jan Bösche, ARD Washington
01.01.2019 11:18 PM

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