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Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Horizons sent in pictures of a mysterious object beyond the orbit of Pluto


Completed its mission to study Pluto, the New Horizons probe continued to move to the most remote parts of the Solar system. Recently, the spacecraft transmitted images of the object in the Kuiper belt called 1994 JR1, and also managed to get some information about this celestial body.


photo: pixabay.com

The Planet Pluto

1994 JR1 is an object of irregular shape with a diameter of about 127 kilometers, located at a distance of 5 billion kilometers from the Sun. As its name implies, it was opened in 1994. New Horizon has in the past took pictures of this object, but then the distance between the probe and 1994 JR1 was 274 million kilometers, but now it was reduced to 111 million kilometers, which enabled more accurate to call it the orbit and the speed of communication around its axis.

As it turned out, a full rotation around its axis 1994 JR1 makes for 5.4 hours, and it updated the orbit allows to exclude pre-existing theory that the object is a satellite of Pluto or its quasistatic, that is, a body orbiting the Sun at a speed that allows him for a very long time to remain near the larger object.

Experts note that the new images allow us an inside look into the Kuiper belt — a world whose existence a few decades ago, mankind was not aware of anything.

The spacecraft New Horizons (“New horizons”) was launched from Cape Canaveral on 19 January 2006. In January 2015 it was close to Pluto at a sufficiently small distance to start studying it, and in the middle of June flew by at a distance of 12.5 thousand kilometers from the surface of the dwarf planet, for nine days collecting about 50 gigabits of information about it. Were subsequently carried out four course corrections of the probe in which the probe went in the direction of the Kuiper belt object MU69 2014. The end of the mission scheduled for 2026.

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