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Old 01-21-2019, 10:30 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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Why no recent Ultima Thule images?

New Horizons should have been sending us data at full speed for the last approximately 11 days now, having reappeared from behind the sun in our view. We got a coarse pretty picture in the big rush after the flyby, and then a few things that appear to have been built out of earlier images such as rotating views. But no higher resolution image in the last 11 days. Why?

Yes, they are prioritizing image metadata, so they better understand what order to download the images they get. I read that late February should deliver us more good stuff.

But still, I'm surprised we didn't get one piece of eye candy early on.

Say, just one other little curiosity -- is there anything at all of interest for New Horizons to see about Ultima Thule in the days after flyby? It'd be backlit, and getting very small in the rear view mirror (so to speak), but there might be something they'd check for, such as light scattering from things orbiting around Ultima Thule. Just wondering.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:44 AM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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Off the top of my head there are two factors:

First, the New Horizons mission doesn't have a 100% open-data, instant-sharing policy. The team investigators get a first crack at looking at and analyzing any data, so there is in effect a brief embargo before images are shared with the public. I believe this is in contrast to some other missions, where data is automatically uploaded to public servers.

Second, the government shutdown is slowing down any non-essential parts of the mission. All the team members involved with operating the spacecraft, directing science, and receiving data are essential I believe. Some of the basic science roles might not be, which could slow down the process of reviewing data before releasing it to the public. And any public relations roles are also probably non-essential, which means there's nobody to do the press releases and press conferences associated with showing off new images.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:46 AM
Jet Jaguar Jet Jaguar is online now
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Another factor is that New Horizons happened to pass behind the sun just after it's flyby. That caused a radio blackout that lasted about a week.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:50 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Another factor is that New Horizons happened to pass behind the sun just after it's flyby. That caused a radio blackout that lasted about a week.
A fact the OP addressed specifically in the first post.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:54 PM
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Last edited by scr4; 01-21-2019 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:31 PM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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The bitrate is even lower than it was at Pluto. Something like 500 bit/sec. And high-rez images have lots and lots of bits. It will take hours to download a single image. But first they have to figure out which are likely to be the best images, so they don't waste time on the wrong ones. To do that, they have to download the metadata and analyze it.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:13 PM
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... It will take hours to download a single image. ...
Windows XP?
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Old 01-22-2019, 02:04 PM
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Windows XP?
  #9  
Old 01-22-2019, 03:50 PM
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Now I'll never see that picture of Janeway!
  #10  
Old 01-22-2019, 05:30 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Alan Stern tweeted a while back that there would be a new data release 'in about 10 days'. Ten days would be tomorrow. So maybe we will see something then.

By the way, an excellent resource for all unmanned missions is Unmannedspaceflight.com
  #11  
Old 01-23-2019, 01:31 PM
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I think they found a monolith.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:36 PM
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I think they found a monolith.
I don't think it's that drastic-I just think they can see the hatches now.
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:34 PM
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I don't think it's that drastic-I just think they can see the hatches now.
Hatches or blaster ports?
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:42 PM
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Hatches or blaster ports?
Might be a shuttle bay door.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:22 PM
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Might be a shuttle bay door.
"Open the pod-bay door, Hal."
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:28 PM
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"Open the pod-bay door, Hal."
"I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that."

"And, >snicker< you forgot your helmet."
  #17  
Old 01-23-2019, 09:30 PM
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Might be a shuttle bay door.
or Photon Torpedo tubes
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  #18  
Old 01-23-2019, 09:42 PM
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I don't think it's that drastic-I just think they can see the hatches now.
"That's no moon."
  #19  
Old 01-24-2019, 09:47 AM
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And high-rez images have lots and lots of bits.
Dozens at least!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
It will take hours to download a single image.
Ah, reminds me of the good ol' days of dial up.

Last edited by Hermitian; 01-24-2019 at 09:47 AM.
  #20  
Old 01-24-2019, 09:14 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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It's alive! Alive! (the probe, that is...)
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-ne...-ultima-thule/
  #21  
Old 01-25-2019, 04:58 PM
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Here ya go.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:11 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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That's great! You can see the docking ring, thruster burns on the shuttle, and photon torpedo tubes on the mother ship!
  #23  
Old 01-25-2019, 10:54 PM
Napier Napier is offline
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Aww, nice!! Thanks!!
  #24  
Old 01-26-2019, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
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Note the comment in the caption. "It will take almost two years for New Horizons to transmit all the data from the flyby, 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) away."

Reminds me of a YouTube video where someone used a 56k US Robotics modem to (start) the download of a web page. It was a proof of concept and only about eight minutes so not much actually got in before the video reached its end.
  #25  
Old 01-26-2019, 08:07 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is online now
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Here's another story. I found it while looking at the link about the duck-billed dinosaur thingy.

http://www.sci-news.com/space/detail...ule-06848.html
  #26  
Old 01-26-2019, 10:25 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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Why no recent Ultima Thule images?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
Ah, reminds me of the good ol' days of dial up.


And of this Board!

Last edited by Northern Piper; 01-26-2019 at 10:26 PM.
  #27  
Old 01-27-2019, 08:29 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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I keep trying to imagine what Ultima Thule would have been like leading up to the time when the two bodies first contacted each other. It would have taken a long time, in human terms, for the orbiting pair to radiate away their kinetic energy while growing gradually closer. There must have been many years, or millennia, when the space between them was smaller than their diameters, or when it was less than a mile, less than a hundred feet, even less than a meter. There would have been a tiny gap you could see through for many human lifetimes, and it would have been attracting any loose bits that were able to roll around or creep into position. Meanwhile, though the two bodies probably became gravitationally locked to one another well before any contact, perhaps there was still substantial libration in both bodies until they touched. Imagine lying on one body looking at the other when they were 1000 meters apart, or 100, or 10. It would have filled the entire sky. I guess it would have slowly moved around due to liberation. And you'd be nearly weightless, especially if you were lying on the smaller one. Well, you'd feel dead, of course, and cold, but still....
  #28  
Old 01-27-2019, 11:34 PM
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Horse's mouth: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/...?page=20190124

Last edited by Squink; 01-27-2019 at 11:34 PM.
  #29  
Old 01-28-2019, 09:24 AM
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Any loose material on the bodies would assume the shape of the Roche lobes, and in the process of assuming that shape, convert a lot of orbital energy into heat. The coalescence would proceed faster and faster as they got closer, and the time when they were very close but not quite yet touching would be very brief.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:22 PM
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The latest image was taken at 4200 miles, and closest approach was 2200 miles. So we'll see better yet.
  #31  
Old 01-29-2019, 08:52 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier View Post
Imagine lying on one body looking at the other when they were 1000 meters apart, or 100, or 10. It would have filled the entire sky. I guess it would have slowly moved around due to liberation. And you'd be nearly weightless, especially if you were lying on the smaller one. Well, you'd feel dead, of course, and cold, but still....


Is there enough light that far out for human eyes to see anything like that?

(Aside from the "being cold and dead" thing, of course.)
  #32  
Old 01-29-2019, 09:22 PM
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Sunlight at that distance a couple of thousand times dimmer than noonday sun at Earth, couple of hundred times brighter than full moon.
  #33  
Old 01-29-2019, 09:47 PM
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Just to add to that - Sunlight is roughly 100,000 lux. An overcast day is only about 1000 lux, Normal indoor lighting ranges from 100 to 1000 lux, and a full moon is about .1 lux. We have no trouble seeing in full moonlight. Our eyes have a massive range of brightness sensitivity.

100 times brighter than a full moon would be about 10 lux, Which is about the brightness of normal twilight on Earth. If you were on Ultima Thule, the brightness level would be like an evening just after sunset on Earth. Perfectly usable. If your eyes are good, you could read in that much light.
  #34  
Old 01-30-2019, 08:38 AM
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The latest image was taken at 4200 miles, and closest approach was 2200 miles. So we'll see better yet.
If I am recalling right there is no auto-aiming capability on the craft so programmers had to set the cameras panning movements beforehand. There was an quick check on the as yet not downloaded data and they are cherry picking the frames that actually captured U-T to download first.*

Pretty awesome, I'd say.

*I have no idea how this was determined. The misses are zeroes (black), I suppose.
  #35  
Old 02-10-2019, 02:03 PM
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The latest data throws a curveball.
  #36  
Old 02-10-2019, 05:13 PM
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I expect to see "NCC 1701" pretty soon.
  #37  
Old 02-10-2019, 06:15 PM
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If you were on Ultima Thule, the brightness level would be like an evening just after sunset on Earth. Perfectly usable. If your eyes are good, you could read in that much light.
Cool.
  #38  
Old 02-10-2019, 07:29 PM
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If you were on Ultima Thule, the brightness level would be like an evening just after sunset on Earth. Perfectly usable. If your eyes are good, you could read in that much light.
And in terms of apparent size, the sun would be just a pinpoint, not much different than a star except much brighter, the sort of thing we never see from earth. Kind of like one of those small but annoyingly bright and glaring LEDs.
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I expect to see "NCC 1701" pretty soon.
The resemblance is beginning to be rather striking!

It's rather amazing how much we can misconstrue the shape of an object based on superficial observations and incorrect assumptions. Something to keep in mind when looking at artists' renderings of famous interstellar object Oumuamua, which are based on so little observational data that they're almost entirely speculative. The shape of the thing could be almost anything.*

* And the antennas, hatches, and high-powered telescopes and death rays on board would be entirely invisible to us!
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:38 AM
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I read the new shape article several days ago.

Now when I look at a pic I can't help but see the larger one as more flattened.

Perception is influenced by preconception.
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