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'New Horizons' detects first major 'Ultima' puzzle

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posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 07:55 PM
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WHY doesn't the object show signs it's rotating?


Even though scientists determined in 2017 that the Kuiper Belt object isn't shaped like a sphere – that it is probably elongated or maybe even two objects – they haven't seen the repeated pulsations in brightness that they'd expect from a rotating object of that shape. The periodic variation in brightness during every rotation produces what scientists refer to as a light curve.

"It's really a puzzle," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute. "I call this Ultima's first puzzle – why does it have such a tiny light curve that we can't even detect it? I expect the detailed flyby images coming soon to give us many more mysteries, but I did not expect this, and so soon."

What could explain the tiny, still undetected light curve? New Horizons science team members have different ideas.


Link


edit on 12.20.2018 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)

edit on Fri Dec 21 2018 by DontTreadOnMe because: IMPORTANT: New (old) Standards Are Being Enforced (again) For New Threads




posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 08:04 PM
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a reply to: JimOberg

Can't get your link to work here...

Okay, I think this one is working.

Well... I'm surprised no one is considering alien megastructure yet.



edit on 20/12/2018 by vinifalou because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 08:08 PM
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a reply to: vinifalou

Link



posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 08:09 PM
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pluto.jhuapl.edu...

maybe this will work.



posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 08:09 PM
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posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 08:20 PM
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Can't rule out eclipsing binaries eating/absorbing smaller solar bodies in a possible very tight orbit with one another; or just the one star orbiting a black hole; possibly too small to be swallowed by it; and yet gravity strong enough it can't escape it either, also being cause for it collide with smaller bodies, in doing so.



posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 08:24 PM
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Hurrah for first puzzles!

May there be many more.



posted on Dec, 20 2018 @ 11:44 PM
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a reply to: JimOberg

Sorry JO, there have been multiple observations of UT and there is no dust or moons in orbit.

ATS link.

That was news that they are taking the closest flyby (even closer than Pluto) because there is no dust. See the Wikipedia link for all the observations made.

It could be two spheres in a kinda binary orbit. Cool thing is it will only take a couple of weeks to find out!!

Happy New Year!




posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 10:06 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
Hurrah for first puzzles!

May there be many more.


Yes! The New Horizons researchers are excitedly getting the Holiday presents they hope for in the form of much-wanted mysteries.

As comedian Dara O'Briain points out "Of course science doesn't know everything, otherwise it would stop".


edit on 12/21/2018 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 10:27 AM
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Guessing that it's very smooth and round.



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 10:54 AM
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If the body(or bodies) are uniform, or nearly uniform in surface color then the light reflection curve would be minimal. The period of the curve would indicate the speed of rotation as well....and I've heard nothing of that metric yet. But then, we will know more in a week I am sure.

Go Science!

Always on the sharp edge of knowledge....



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 11:50 AM
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thick dust?



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 12:58 PM
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originally posted by: wildespace
Guessing that it's very smooth and round.


Problem with that theory is the observed star occultation results recently, showing indication of either contact or close binary form.

phys.org...



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 01:33 PM
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Somebody painted it.



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 04:20 PM
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Chances are, the two lobes of Ultima Thule orbit around a barycenter between them, in a plane at or near right angles to the New Horizons probe. That would make them return about the same amount of reflected light, at any time.If that's not the case, we do have mystery to solve.
edit on 21-12-2018 by Ross 54 because: improved typography



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 04:26 PM
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originally posted by: Ross 54
Chances are, the two lobes of Ultima Thule orbit around a barycenter between them, in a plane at or near right angles to the New Horizons probe. That would make them return about the same amount of reflected light, at any time.If that's not the case, wedohave mystery to solve.


This scenario seems plausible to my layman's brain.

So what you're saying is that the amount of reflected light from the object would not change that much if the same amount of reflected surface is always pointed toward the light detecting instrument as the object rotates -- even if that rotation was of a dumbbell-shaped object.


edit on 12/21/2018 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 05:18 PM
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Right, or two separate bodies orbiting close to one another. The only problem with this scenario seems to be the improbability of the the two objects just happening to orbit in the correct plane, with respect to the New Horizons probe.



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 05:19 PM
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a reply to: Ross 54

Equally as unlikely as the axis of rotation of a spherical(ish) body being aligned with the spacecraft?

edit on 12/21/2018 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 05:22 PM
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a reply to: Ross 54

Improbability. Not impossibility.

I luvs me a mystery!!!

This one should be readily solved in a week or so...



posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 09:03 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Ross 54

Equally as unlikely as the axis of rotation of a spherical(ish) body being aligned with the spacecraft?

Perhaps even more so. Two objects must assume one specific, narrowly defined orbital plane, as against: one object must have its axis pointed in a particular direction.




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