New Horizons Final Ultima Thule Images Reveal True Shape

via SlashGear

It’s not that easy to get accurate photos of the complete form of Ultima Thule, considering factors like distance from the sun, the side facing the light, and New Horizon’s 50,000 km/h speed. Add the fact that the spacecraft used long exposure times to boost the camera’s signal level, and you’ve got some heavy blurring going on. Thanks to some processing and tracking which stars are being blocked by Ultima Thule’s shape, scientists at NASA were able to get a better estimate of the KBO’s body.

Instead of a snowman, Ultima Thule is better described as a dented walnut smashed with a pancake. It’s not yet a 100% accurate model, of course, and the two objects might be flatter or bigger than this new model may suggest. Scientists, however, are certain that it’s not a celestial rock snowman.

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