Lots Moar Pixels!


Better resolutions pictures of Ultima Thule are now coming in from New Horizons. We can now tell that it’s a two-lob object, and the mission science team has named the two lobes “Ultima” and “Thule.”

There are about 28,000 pixels across this image of Ultima Thule. The image I posted yesterday contained 6 pixels.

Color data from the low-resolution camera has been overlaid with higher resolution imagery to produce this first color image.More data will be coming in over the coming weeks.

Stay tuned.

Ultima Thule in 2 Pixels


The New Horizons spacecraft took this picture of Ultima Thule as part the last check on its flyby trajectory. The image on left is the the raw data. The KBO is so small that it only occupies two pixels. The image on the right is a processed version that show gives a general view of its shape. Ultima Thule is far enough away that radio signals take a bit over six hours to travel to Earth. As I’m posting this, the first flyby data has just been received.

Stay tuned.

Image Credit: NASA

Ultima Thule Flyby Update


The New Horizons team at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has been busy preparing for the spacecraft’s flyby of the Kuiper Belt Object nicknamed Ultima Thule on New Year’s Day. This update was posted on 28 December.

Video Credit: JHUAPL

BTW, Mrs Hoge and I met Alan Stern at a sushi bar in Columbia, Maryland, several years before New Horizons launched. We had been to a medical appointment and stopped for lunch, and he sat down a few seats down the bar from us. In the course of our  conversation, I found out that he was in the area to pitch the idea of the Pluto flyby mission to NASA, and I’ve been following the project’s progress ever since.