While you celebrate the New Year and Christmas, the spacecraft NASA a 6 billion miles from Earth, gives us its first close-up shots, which hit the farthest object to which it ever reached the people. It was believed that it consists of two lobes. And you won’t believe, but he actually resembles the natural snowman, even slightly reddish, in Christmas colors. Ultima Thule, a tiny icy object that consists of two merged spheres, one of which is three times larger than the other. Its length is 33 km.
Snowman on the edge of the Solar system
The spacecraft “New horizons”, the same one that sent us images of Pluto three and a half years ago, flew past the ancient, mysterious object literally for the New Year. However, due to the distance of the object located at a distance of 1.6 billion kilometers from Pluto — information and high-quality images started coming to us recently.
On Tuesday, blurry images taken the previous day showed that the Ultima Thule resembles a bowling ball. But later it became apparent that the bowling ball has disappeared, and there was a snowman.
Celestial object called Ultima Thule — which means “beyond the known world” even before it became clear that one object or two. But now that we have pictures, scientists have named large sphere Ultima, and little Tula.
Tula in cross-section about 14 kilometers, and Ultima is about 19 kilometers.
Scientist Jeff Moore of the Ames Research center at NASA said that the two areas are formed when ice particles with pebbles merged in space billions of years ago. Then the sphere was in motion in the direction towards each other, not yet merged, or even stuck together.
Despite the thin connection area, the two share “firmly stick” together.
The object itself takes 15 hours to complete a revolution. If it rotated faster, the sphere would explode. However, scientists have found less than 1% of all data collected by the “New horizons”, there are still two years of collection.