CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The faraway space snowman visited by NASA last month has a flat - not round - behind.
New photos from the New Horizons spacecraft offer a new perspective on the small cosmic body 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) away. Scientists say the two-lobed object, nicknamed Ultima Thule, is actually flatter on the backside than originally thought. Pictures released late last week - taken shortly after closest approach on New Year's Day - provide an outline of the side not illuminated by the sun.
‼️BREAKING‼️2014 MU69 (nicknamed #UltimaThule), is not, as it turns out, quite so round as initially anticipated. Images from @NASANewHorizons confirm the highly unusual, flatter shape of the #KBO: https://t.co/yaAZx8XQqO pic.twitter.com/JQlLiL9Hxq — Johns Hopkins APL (@JHUAPL) February 8, 2019
When viewed from the front, Ultima Thule still resembles a two-ball snowman. But from the side , the snowman looks squashed, sort of like a lemon and pie stuck together, end to end.
Ultima Thule is the most distant world ever explored.
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