In early 2019, the spacecraft New Horizons flew past the distant object studied by the people of the asteroid Ultima Thule. In late January, researchers at NASA showed quality the asteroid from which all of us had the impression that it has the shape of a dumbbell. It turned out that this view was incorrect, a new photo showed that the object has a tapered shape, wherein one of the parts is much thinner than the other.
A new view on the form Ultima Thule was composed after watching a dozen new photos. They were taken at a distance of over 8000 kilometers after New Horizons flew past the object. For them, the asteroid is seen under different angles, and traced the changing forms of the researchers came to the conclusion that its two component parts are not rounded.
According to the head of research Alan stern, they might say that Ultima Thule the same flat as a pancake. However, the photos it had not been elucidated completely, and the thickness of the “pancake” can be much more than it seems at the moment. The image below shows how very different the old view of astronomers about Ultima Thule from the new. The dashed line represents what could be its thickness really.
After receiving new information about the object, researchers asked new questions. The most important thing they care about is how the Solar system could form the object of this unusual form. Scientists admitted that they still “never seen anything like that in orbit of the Sun.”
Perhaps in the future NASA will get more high-quality photos and the researchers will have the first assumption about the origin of the object. One of them can be the key to solving the mystery of the origin of the Solar system — and this is what I hope the researchers.
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