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New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt

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New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:02 am

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently turned its telescopic camera toward a field of stars, snapped an image – and made history.

The routine calibration frame of the “Wishing Well” galactic open star cluster, made by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on Dec. 5, was taken when New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers, or 40.9 astronomical units) from Earth – making it, for a time, the farthest image ever made from Earth.

New Horizons was even farther from home than NASA’s Voyager 1 when it captured the famous “Pale Blue Dot” image of Earth. That picture was part of a composite of 60 images looking back at the solar system, on Feb. 14, 1990, when Voyager was 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers, or about 40.5 astronomical units [AU]) from Earth. Voyager 1’s cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years.

LORRI broke its own record just two hours later with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 – further demonstrating how nothing stands still when you’re covering more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) of space each day.

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Re: New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:03 am


Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

With its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), New Horizons has observed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique phase angles, as well as Centaurs at extremely high phase angles to search for forward-scattering rings or dust. These December 2017 false-color images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 (left) and 2012 HE85 are, for now, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft. They're also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects.

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Re: New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:05 am



The images were captured using the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).And, NASA says they’re the closest images yet of objects in this region.‘New Horizons has long been a mission of firsts – first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched.

 
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