Ultima Thule discovers that it is shaped like a reddish snowman

2019/01/03 Agirre Ruiz de Arkaute, Aitziber - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Photographs taken 2,000 km from its surface have shown that Ultima Thule is a binary body. Ed. Recent searches

NASA and Johns Hopkins University in the United States have opened new photos of Ultima Thule (2014 MU69). Only 1% of the photos taken by the New Horizons probe have been seen, but they have already solved their first doubt: Ultima Thule is a single object, not two independent objects. They discover that it looks like a snowman, calling the body Ultima and the head Thule.

As the mission leaders have explained, Ultima Thule may have started creating some 4,500 years ago. In a rotating cloud formed by small icy bodies, they supposedly began to merge until Ultima and Thule emerged. As a result of the joint orbit, two independent objects would move closer with a spiral movement, touching each other and forming the current binary body Ultima Thule.

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Being so far from the Sun, Ultima Thul receives 1,600 times less light than the Earth, but nevertheless, they have been able to verify that it has a reddish color. They also hope to obtain information about orography, as the probe has taken 900 photos, but NASA has announced that it will take two years to reach Earth.

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