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New Horizons' first sight on Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69

New Horizons' first sight on Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69

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NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

New Horizons' first sight on Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69
On August 16, 2018, New Horizons used its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to take 48 photos of the spot in space where navigators hoped to spy 2014 MU69. Each exposure lasted 30 seconds, the longest possible with LORRI. The left image merges those 48 photos. The predicted position of the Kuiper Belt object is at the red crosshair at the center, just above and to the left of a nearby star that is approximately 17 times brighter. The right image is a magnified view of the region in the yellow box, after subtraction of a background star field "template" taken by LORRI in September 2017 before it could detect the object itself. 2014 MU69 is clearly detected in this star-subtracted image and is very close to where scientists predicted. At the time of these observations, 2014 MU69 was 172 million kilometers from the New Horizons spacecraft and 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun. The star that appears practically on top of 2014 MU69 is 4.56 kiloparsecs away.

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 August 16, 2018

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