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Distant Ultima Thule is a weirdly flat snowman that defies rationalization

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Flatter than we thought

NASA/Johns Hopkins Utilized Physics Laboratory/Southwest Analysis Institute/Nationwide Optical Astronomy Observatory

Ultima Thule, probably the most distant house rock we now have ever visited, is constant to confound astronomers. It has been variously described as a misshapen potato, a peanut, a bowling pin and a snowman. Now the newest footage taken by the New Horizons spacecraft on its flyby reveal one other twist.

The bigger bulbous finish of the rock, referred to as Ultima, isn’t spherical as we had thought, however flat, like a cookie. The smaller bulb, referred to as Thule, can be considerably squashed, like a walnut.

“The brand new photos are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object might even be shaped,” mission scientist Alan Stern mentioned in an announcement. “We’ve by no means seen one thing like this orbiting the solar.”

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Ultima Thule goes shooting by
Ultima Thule goes taking pictures by

Description:NASA/Johns Hopkins Utilized Physics Laboratory/Southwest Analysis Institute/Nationwide Optical Astronomy Observatory

NASA’s New Horizons hurtled previous Ultima Thule on New 12 months’s Day this yr, taking footage and gathering information because it flew inside 3500 kilometres of the 32-kilometre-long rock. The newest footage have been taken after the spacecraft had handed it, revealing a special angle.

Ultima Thule is considered a remnant of the early photo voltaic system, so finding out it might inform us about how the planets shaped. Its baffling form defies rationalization for now, however is certain to encourage new theories as New Horizons sends again extra information.

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