Ultima Thule

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Excuse the picture. I tried to draw what Ultima Thule looked like.

I just watched a programme called “the sky at night” a BBC programme about the Nasa New Horizons mission that flew past a tiny planetoid called Ultima Thule (pronounced Thooley) on 1st January 2019. This was the same probe that sent back beautiful photos of Pluto a couple of years ago. Ultima Thule is only 21 miles long and the probe showed that it is made up of two lumpy spheres of material stuck together at a neck. There is only one clearish photo so far but they also know that it probably is a red colour. The pictures they published have been brightened to show details but the thing is probably a dark red colour.

The probe was apparently travelling at around 15 kilometres a second so it sped past Ultima Thule and is now several hundred kilometres past it and travelling further into the Kuiper belt (a ring of debris spread in a flat layer around the outer edge of the solar system). New horizons is nuclear fueled because solar panels would not work in the darkness so far from the sun.

It will take two years to stream all the data thay have collected from the probe back to Earth. This is the furthest world we have ever seen close up.

I love informative programmes like the Sky at Night. Its been on TV since the 1960’s I think. I have learnt a lot about astronomy over the years from it.

 

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