Astronomy Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2019 January 3

Explanation: On January 1New Horizons encounteredthe Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule.Some 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun, UltimaThule is the most distant world ever explored by a spacecraftfrom Earth.This historic image,the highest resolution image released so far,was made at a range of about 28,000 kilometers only30 minutes before the New Horizons closest approach.Likely the result of agentlecollision shortly after the birth of the Solar System,Ultima Thule is revealed to be a contactbinary, two connected sphere-like shapesheld in contact by mutual gravity.Dubbed separately by the science team Ultima and Thule, the largerlobe Ultima is about 19 kilometers in diameter.Smaller Thule is 14 kilometers across.

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day

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