TechnologyRock On: NASA releases artsy shots of 2 asteroids
NASA Releases New, High-Quality New Horizons Image of the Ultima Thule "Snowman" Asteroid
This new image highlights all kinds of features that weren't visible in the initial images. The New Horizons spacecraft got famous for its Pluto flyby in 2015, but here in 2019, it’s been making discoveries that are just as fascinating. On New Year’s Day, New Horizons flew past a distant asteroid orbiting far beyond Pluto, which NASA is calling Ultima Thule. The day after the flyby, NASA released an image of the asteroid that revealed it to be snowman-shaped. Now they’re releasing an even higher-quality image showing all of Ultima Thule’s tiny details and explaining some of its mysteries.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA has released a pair of artsy shots of two little asteroids.
Thursday's picture shows an asteroid coming apart at its dusty seams, courtesy of the. Two long comet-like tails are streaming from asteroid Gault, a 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer-wide) world that's spinning so fast it's shedding.
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Photos released Wednesday focus on the even smaller space rock Bennu. The 3D images taken by NASA's, flying alongside Bennu, show a jagged boulder that's 170 feet (52 meters) across.
A real-life rocker helped create these stereo images: Queen's lead guitarist Brian May. May, who's also an astrophysicist, joined the science team in January. He also is collaborating on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past the most distant object ever explored, Ultima Thule, on New Year's Day.
NASA is filming a strange object just flying through our solar system
It's a spectacular discovery recorded by the Max Planck Institute Solar System Research (MPS) have now evaluated. Already in 2011 they became aware of the object, but at that time still too far to make accurate analysis.space telescope and researchers at the
This changed in September 2016 and the result is unique. The body is named 288P and circles in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter around the sun. But two things make him special: On the one hand, he belongs to the group of extraordinary asteroids that spit dust and gas into space. That is very unusual for the "inhabitants" of the asteroid belt, explain the researchers.
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Planet 9:Discovery of the First Active Double Asteroid
Secondly, and this is the point that makes the celestial body more extraordinary and spectacular, it consists of two separate parts that rotate around a common center of gravity. 288P is thus the first known active double steroid. These researchers published in the .
A video clearly shows the movement of the body:
Already at the discovery in 2011, the experts found a clear activity of the object, but could not define it further. However, when it approached its solar nearest point about a year ago, , the Earth's asteroid has approached just over 200 million kilometers. That was enough to clearly recognize two separate pieces.
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Since then, the data has been extensively analyzed. They show that both single parts, which make up 288P, each measure about a diameter of one kilometer. Simulations show that the distance between the two parts is unusually large. They circle each other on a strongly elliptical orbit at a distance of about 100 kilometers.split little more than 5,000 years ago
The experts have found that the body becomes active whenever it approaches the sun. This indicates that exposed, evaporating gases drive this activity. The researchers can deduce from this discovery: 288P must have broken apart barely more than 5,000 years ago, otherwise the gases would have completely volatilized long ago.
But why did the object break apart? The researchers explain it with the fast rotation around its own axis - a reason that has already provided many such binary asteroids. The theory is supported by the fact that the orbits of the two parts run around each other in the same plane as their common orbit around the sun. This constellation is unlikely for asteroids that break because of a heavy impact.Researchers Expect More Details on Cosmic Neighborhood
Breaks have released gases that have driven both parts of the body to this far distance. Through the analysis of 288P, the researchers hope to gain further details regarding of our cosmic neighborhood: how did it emerge and how did it evolve? Whether the newly discovered asteroid is a cosmic individual case can not be said at the moment - but it is spectacular in any case.
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