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'New Horizons' detects first major 'Ultima' puzzle

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posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 10:03 AM

originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People

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.

Good thinking, Batman. Imagine the lobes are not spherical but thin and stretched out. That would make the total reflected light being roughly the same whether you're seeing one of the lobes face-on, or seeing the whole thing sideways.

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 01:32 PM

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

That is what I was thinking. I am guessing that the star occultation data is not accurate enough to determine how Ultima Thule should look from New Horizons (assuming that it is a close binary, or dumbbell shaped single object), based on the difference in viewing angle when compared to an Earth observer.
edit on 22-12-2018 by Mogget because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 03:10 PM

originally posted by: seagull
a reply to: Ross 54

Improbability. Not impossibility.

I luvs me a mystery!!!

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

The first images should be released on Jan. 2nd. My main concern here now, with the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, it how this will affect this release. A couple of reputable news sources have reported that 95 to 96 percent of NASA employees will be furloughed. Those working on ongoing missions like New Horizons are exempted from this, but the public releases may still be affected.
edit on 22-12-2018 by Ross 54 because: added information

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 03:38 PM
a reply to: Ross 54

It might affect it, probably will.

Just makes the anticipation more fun, right?

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 08:10 PM
a reply to: Ross 54
Off-topic post here, but I always find it weird and amusing that a first-world country's government "shuts down" on a seemingly regular basis. I wonder what it's like to live in a country that doesn't have a government for a few days or weeks...

edit on 22-12-2018 by wildespace because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 08:18 PM
Back on topic, this will be a waiting game regardless.

Then, there won't be much to do but wait and hope that things go according to plan. Around 10:00 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, the team expects to get a health and safety report from New Horizons letting them know it survived the encounter. The first up-close images of Ultima Thule are expected to arrive on Earth between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. EST Jan. 1 (22:00 on Jan. 1 and 00:00 on Jan. 2 UTC), a NASA spokesperson said.

The head of the mission Alan Stern says: "Actually the total data volume taken and stored on the recorders is very close to the same as at Pluto; downloading it all will take 20 months. Through Aug-Sep, 2020. "

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 10:37 PM
post removed.
edit on 22-12-2018 by Ross 54 because: post removed

posted on Dec, 23 2018 @ 09:40 AM
a reply to: Phage

Seeing how it is called a very stable region of space; most things in that sector would be seen as; equatorial neither up or down poled against the flat field...

If they are? Then of course the larger bodies grinding and or attempting to absorb them would mean they have become irregularly shaped in doing so... as two binaries pull atmosphere's from one to another in a tug of war trying to dominate the same position... in sort of solar duck duck goose and musical chairs.

Saturn and Neptune's regional space is stable in such a manner, approaching them equatorial one would not notice the rings and instead see a complex debris field of various sizes, like a messy child's room... whereas coming in from a different plane or if you will; the child's mind? Nicely formed rings and moons having done so many circles around it themselves.

Spiralling out is the norm on formation, spiralling in means not enough gravity to carry out any further... so when a star tears a gravity well open... then it is all in until nothing else can really fit; so sometimes that means two bodies that have not gone nova roughly the same size trying to occupy a hole or space that neither can stay in for long in a ring around the rosy sort of fashion where one is pulled out and then the other falls in over and over.

One would think such a thing would cause a gravity wave... however it is very likely that has already occurred, so these two just keep on waltzing away. Eventually worn down and out one will pole the well and the other drift out as a lonesome rogue... sort of what planet X to our own sun is supposed to be, a nemesis or brown dwarf... when we used to be a binary system. The solar body we know won the seat accumulated mass perched on the pulsar reignited and it didn't.

We've been in a slow collision with the Alpha system for quite some time. It is a very good reflection of what we used to be.

Some would go so far to say "It is us" and "we are you" when attached to notions of "time" such a thing seems more or less implausible to those considering themselves rational.

posted on Dec, 24 2018 @ 11:23 AM
The Hubble Space Telescope found very small variations in the reflected light from Ultima Thule, on the order of 0.15 magnitude. This was within the scatter of data points at a given time,though, so can not be definitely assigned to true variability.

The New Horizons probe, it appears, is already in a position to detect light variations from the object considerably smaller than that. Its telescope has far less light gathering power than Hubble, but it is, of course, much, much closer to Ultima Thule.

As we've read recently, there is still no real indication of a variable light curve. This result tests and confirms the indications from the HST of little or no change in the brightness of Ultima Thule. It seems that the more closely the object is examined, the more mysterious it becomes.

posted on Dec, 24 2018 @ 12:43 PM
...or the more normal it becomes, and the more questionable the deductions made from those HST observations become. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see another Kuiper Belt object "up close and personal".
edit on 24-12-2018 by Mogget because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 25 2018 @ 05:12 PM
The shape of the object was determined by Earth-based observations of Ultima Thule passing it front of stars and noting how long it blocked out their light. It's well established that U.T. is quite elongated, perhaps even made up of two separate, closely orbiting bodies.

Observations by New Horizons, now in a much better position than Hubble to detect changes in reflected light from Ultima Thule, still find none. It will, indeed be interesting to see what's up with this mysterious space object.

posted on Dec, 27 2018 @ 03:21 PM

Credit: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)

A bit of an appetizer! Taken Christmas Eve a closer view (still a fuzz ball!)

"From Ultima's orbit, we know that it is the most primordial object ever explored. I'm excited to see the surface features of this small world, particularly the craters on the surface," says Deputy Project Scientist Cathy Olkin of the Southwest Research Institute. "Young craters could provide a window to see the composition of the subsurface of Ultima. Also by counting the number and impactors that have hit Ultima, we can learn about the number of small objects in the outer solar system."

Source: (same with image)

This should be one of the more interesting things researched. It is almost all unknown due to its distance.

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