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2014 MU69 from 10 million kilometers

2014 MU69 from 10 million kilometers

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NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI

2014 MU69 from 10 million kilometers
This image shows the first detection of 2014 MU69 (nicknamed "Ultima Thule"), using the highest resolution mode (known as "1x1") of the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard the New Horizons spacecraft. Three separate images, each with an exposure time of 0.5 seconds, were combined to produce the image shown here. All three images were taken on 24 December 2018 at 01:56 UT spacecraft time and were downlinked to Earth about 12 hours later. The original images are 1024 x 1024 pixels, but only a 256 x 256 pixel portion, centered on MU69 (circled in orange), is displayed. The other objects visible in this image are nearby stars. At the time this image was taken, MU69 was 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from the Sun and 6.3 million miles (10 million kilometers) from the New Horizons spacecraft. Previous LORRI images required using its lower resolution mode ("4x4"), which has one-quarter the resolution of 1x1 mode, and longer exposure times, 30 seconds each, for the images taken from mid-August through early December 2018. Higher-resolution images taken within a range of 10 million kilometers will enable better optical navigation to the small Kuiper belt object as well as higher-spatial-resolution searches for any nearby moons.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.

Original image data dated on or about December 24, 2018

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