Sunday, December 06, 2015

New Horizons Spots 90 Mile Diameter Plutino 15810 2 AU Away

The New Horizons spacecraft is already 209,437,000 km (130,138,000 miles) past Pluto (as of Dec. 4, 2015), making it 5,226,950,000 km (3,247,880,000 miles) from Earth. So, yes, it’s way out there. Recently, it took the closest images ever of a distant Kuiper Belt object, setting a record by a factor of at least 15, according to NASA. The team says this image demonstrates the spacecraft’s ability to observe numerous similar bodies over the next several years.

The object spotted by the spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is called 1994 JR1, or also Plutino 15810. It is a 90-mile (150-kilometer)-wide ancient body. This animation was created from 4 images taken on Nov. 2, spaced an hour apart.

When these images were taken, 1994 JR1 was 3.3 billion miles (5.3 billion km) from the Sun, but only 170 million miles (280 million km) away from New Horizons.

No comments: