Ultima Thule Images Show Resemblance With Snowman

Ultima Thule Images Show Resemblance With Snowman

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NASA has published pictures sent by its probe New Horizons that recently flew past the frozen region beyond dwarf planet Pluto. The icy region is known as Ultima Thule and is in the shape of a massive Snowman as the picture shows that it looks like to large snowballs fused together. The images of the Ultima Thule first looked as if there are double bodies but now the first detailed pictures from New Horizons confirm the theory. The region lies around 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth and is around 33 kilometers long. This flyby is a record of sorts as it is the first distant exploration of an object that lies beyond the planets of the solar system.

New Horizons has been creating records since it flew past Pluto in 2015 which is the last planet of the solar system and Ultima is located 1.5 billion kilometers away from it. This icy body orbits the sun in Kuiper belt region which is a collection of space debris and several dwarf planets. In fact there are several thousand Kuiper like regions in the solar system which are mostly frigid and they hold clues about how the planets and other parts of the solar system were formed 4.6 billion years ago.

According to co-investigator at New Horizons Jeff Moore of NASA’s Ames Research Center both the pairs would have slowly come together at low speeds of 2-3 kilometers and then fused together. Other data from the spacecraft shows that the objects are dark and the bright regions just reflect 13 % of light falling on them. The actual color of the Ultima Thule is actually red due to the irradiation of the exotic ices on its surface. In other words the object’s surface has been burnt through the years due to cosmic rays and high energy X-Rays that exist in the region.

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