Comin’ at ya’! In just 9 hours, Ultima Thule went from a tiny blip to a real place in this 13-image sequence taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on Dec. 31-Jan. 1. NASA/JHAPL/SwRI/NOAO
It’s time to bring back those propeller beanies that kids used to wear. Let’s do it if only to celebrate the success of NASA’s Ultima Thule mission. We still don’t have the close-up photos yet, but this little animation shows the propeller-like rotation of Ultima Thule across 9 hours between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Dec. 31 (Central Time). as seen by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it sped toward closest encounter with the object on Jan. 1.
Ultima Thule spins like a propeller in this animation created from 13 separate photos taken by the New Horizons spacecraft on Dec. 31. NASA/JHAPL/SwRI/NOAO
During the shoot, the distance between the spacecraft and its target decreased from 310,000 miles (500,000 km) to just 17,100 miles (28,000 km). How amazing to see the resolution improving right before your eyes. Two sequences were created by the New Horizons team. The first shows the images at their original size, while the bottom corrects for the changing distance, so that Ultima Thule ...