After a journey of 13 years and 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km), NASA'sNew Horizons probe had a close encounter with a Kuiper Belt object known as Ultima Thule at 12:33 a.m. EST (5:33 a.m. GMT) January 1, 2019, closing to a distance of about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) from the object.
New Horizons, which flew by Pluto in 2015, is now on a mission to reveal the Kuiper Belt, a region that extends well beyond the outermost planets of our solar system and is populated by tens of thousands of dark, frozen bodies more than 100 metres across, believed to be relics from the solar system's formation.
NASA is scheduled to hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. ET.
This Kuiper Belt object was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014.
"Ultima Thule remains an enigma to us, but the final countdown has begun", said New Horizons principal investigator Dr. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute.
This image made available by NASA in March 2017 shows Pluto illuminated from behind by the sun as the New Horizons spacecraft travels away from it at a distance of about 200,000 kilometres.
Scattered amongst the crowd are those who will carry on New Horizons' legacy - I've spotted team members from Nasa's Osiris-ReX spacecraft which entered orbit around the asteroid Bennu yesterday, and the leaders of upcoming missions to a odd metal asteroid called Psyche and to the trojan asteroids that share an orbit with Jupiter. New Horizons was set to take a total of 900 highest-resolution images throughout the flyby and the mission team will know in time how many of those images clearly show Ultima Thule.
"We've just accomplished the most distant flyby", announced Alice Bowman, mission operations manager.
Scientists suspect Ultima Thule is a single object no more than 32 km long, though there's a chance it could prove to be two smaller bodies orbiting each other or connected by a slender neck. It takes over six hours for radio signals to reach Earth from that far away.
An unmanned NASA spacecraft has sent a signal back to Earth that it has successfully made it through a risky flyby past the most distant planetary object ever studied, the U.S. space agency said on Tuesday.
"Everything we are going to learn about Ultima - from its composition to its geology to how it was originally assembled, whether it has satellites and an atmosphere and those kinds of things - are going to teach us about the original formation conditions of objects in the solar system".
Researchers are interested in small objects in the far reaches of the solar system, asteroids and comets, because they could contain clues to the solar systems origin story.
The team of scientists cheered when the first signals were received from the New Horizons craft.
The spacecraft's next target, Ultima Thule, could contain even more surprises.
Wherever we've explored in the Solar System, we've found the unexpected.
The New Horizons is approximately 4 billion miles from the sun.
In classic and medieval literature, Thule was the most distant, northernmost place beyond the known world.
We'll soon find out. "From here out, the data will just get better and better". The processed image on the right confirms the object's elongated shape.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith picked off Mayfield twice in the first half, including once on the Browns' opening drive of the game. Pushing a playoff-bound Ravens team to the brink of elimination was merely a moral victory for Williams and the Browns.
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Federer is also still going strong, having won the Australian Open past year . Federer will then face off against America's Frances Tiafoe , before playing Williams in the mixed doubles.
Captain Virat Kohli had spent the new year's eve, partying with Bollywood actor and wife, Anushka Sharma. He was training like he wanted to play Test cricket. "It is a much tougher job at the top of the order".
What will it look like?: According to The Verge, New Horizons "will be as far away from the object as NY is from Los Angeles". Possible twins: According to The Associated Press , the Ultima Thule object could be two objects orbiting close together.
Emails seeking comment on the judge's ruling were sent to Spacey's attorneys and the district attorney's office handling the case. The 59-year-old's public appearances come shortly after he was charged with felony sexual assault on Monday, 24 December.
Democrats expect their two-pronged funding approach could put Trump and his Republican allies in a tough position. Republican senators are refusing to vote on any bills until all sides, including Trump, are in agreement.
Data about spam messages is to improve the search engine giant's ability to " detect future spam for users ". If you're an avid Messages user, you'll undoubtedly see the feature the day it becomes available to you.
The woman drove off rapidly and ended up pulling over to call 911 moments later when she realized her daughter wasn't breathing. Police said the shooter pulled his truck up alongside the woman's auto and fired into it, killing the girl.
Since we are entering the new year, the Nokia 9 PureView's hardware is already looking dated with its Snapdragon 845 unit. Further, according to the buzz, the phone will have a metal frame with glass panels covering the front and back sides.
China has been locked in a bruising trade war with the United States and is also facing a slowing domestic economy. It ended in a bear market, down 22 per cent from a high in January and 18 per cent from the start of the year.
He reportedly slipped into the coma in the afternoon and breathed his last at 6 pm (as per the Canada time). According to a close relative Ahmed, the Chhote Sarkar passed away around 4am (IST).
Brazil will move embassy to Jerusalem: Netanyahu
Nor did they post anything on it on their Twitter accounts, despite Bolsonaro in particular being a fervent social media user. However, neither man raised the embassy issue when they spoke to journalists shortly after their meeting.
Alabama, Clemson again for title
Notre Dame came into the game against Clemson as a 12-point underdog in Saturday's first College Football Playoff semifinal. Before Alabama and Clemson , the last time the same two teams started and ended the season 1-2 in the AP poll was in 2005.
Kim says Pyongyang could change its approach
On June 12, Trump and Kim met in Singapore, where they committed to establish new US-North Korea relations. Observers say those steps have not been confirmed and can be easily reversed.
Tesla adds Ellison and HR exec to board to appease SEC
Hardly a point of speculation, Elon Musk said this himself in Tesla's now somewhat famous "Master Plan" all the way back in 2006. Wall Street analysts and investors cheered the news, with Tesla shares rising as much as 3.5 per cent to $327.18 Friday in NY .
Netanyahu Meets Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro
He said that for his country to overcome obstacles, "we need good allies, good friends, good brothers , like Benjamin Netanyahu". Bolsonaro discussed Israel during a meeting in Rio with Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, late last month.
June Whitfield of 'Absolutely Fabulous' Dead at 93
Often playing the female stooge to some of Britain's most famous entertainers, she called herself "a comic's tart". They were among a stream of stars posting tributes to Dame June , whose career in acting spanned eight decades.