MU-69; Kuiper Belt Object detected and now a target

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Walter L. Wagner, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    A primitive solar system object that’s more than four billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) away passed in front of a distant star as seen from Earth. Just before midnight Eastern Time Sunday (12:50 a.m. local time July 17), several telescopes deployed by the New Horizons team in a remote part of Argentina were in precisely the right place at the right time to catch its fleeting shadow — an event that’s known as an occultation.



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    Now you see it, now you don’t: NASA’s New Horizons team trained mobile telescopes on an unnamed star (center) from rural Argentina on July 17, 2017. A Kuiper Belt object 4.1 billion miles from Earth -- known as 2014 MU69 -- briefly blocked the light from the background star, in what’s called an occultation. The time difference between frames is 200 milliseconds, or 0.2 seconds. This data helps scientists to better measure the shape, size and environment around the object; the New Horizons spacecraft will fly by this ancient relic of solar system formation on Jan. 1, 2019.
    Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

    In a matter of seconds, NASA’s New Horizons team captured new data on its elusive target, an ancient Kuiper Belt object known as 2014 MU69. Weary but excited team members succeeded in detecting the spacecraft’s next destination, in what’s being called the most ambitious and challenging ground occultation observation campaign in history.


    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-new-horizons-team-strikes-gold-in-argentina
     

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