Bruce Murray Space Image Library

New Horizons exploration target 2014 MU69 occults a star

New Horizons exploration target 2014 MU69 occults a star
New Horizons exploration target 2014 MU69 occults a star On July 17, 2017 at 03:50 UTC, members of the New Horizons science team successfully observed Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69 passing in front of a background star in the constellation Sagittarius. The 24 frames in this animation were separated by 0.2 seconds apiece. In each 0.2 seconds, the shadow of 2014 MU69 passed 4 kilometers across Earth's surface. Observations like these will allow the team to constrain the size and position of the New Horizons mission's flyby target, improving the precision of their encounter planning. This animation has been processed from the originally published version to reduce noise and align the star field. NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI / Emily Lakdawalla

Go here for information about the specific star that was occulted.

The original animation as posted on NASA's website was about 6 MB in size, and most of the variation in the image is attributable to noise. It was processed by performing a Gaussian blur with a 1-pixel radius in order to deemphasize the noise, and then resized slightly smaller with a bilinear interpolation to spread out the pixel-to-pixel variation a bit more. The original animation was also not aligned on the star field; this version has aligned the stars.

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