Universe Guide

Ultima Thule

Ultima Thule is a Kuiper Belt object, a large rock that orbits round outside the orbit of Neptune. It has been categorised as a object. It has an alternative name which is 2014 MU69. It was discovered by Hubble Space Telescope.Its orbit takes 298 Years years to travel round the Sun.

The absolute magnitude of the object is 11.1 which is the brightness of the object. A higher absolute magnitude means that the object is faint whereas a very low number means it is very bright.

The Aphelion of the object is 46.442 A.U. which is the point in the orbit that is furthest from the object that it is orbit. At this point, it will then return back to the orbit target. The Argument of Perihelion is 174.4178. It is the angle along the orbit of a planet or other Solar System object as measured from the ascending node (analogous to right ascension and longitude) Ref:Hawaii.

The mean anomoly is 316.55086, is the angular distance of the planet from the perihelion or aphelion. Ref:Dictionary.The Semi-Major Axis of the orbit is 44.5813998 A.U., which is the furthest point from the centre to the edge of an elliptical point.

The orbital inclination, the angle at which Ultima Thule orbits in relation to the orbital plane is 2.45116 degrees. The orbital eccentricity is 0.0417249, it is the degree at which Ultima Thule orbits close to a circular (0) orbit as opposed to an elliptical (1) orbit.

Ultima Thule is the new name for 2014 MU69. It gained a lot of interest in the press after N.A.S.A. named it as the next destination for the New Horizons space probe after it had successfully visited Pluto. Ultimate Thule is believed to be two objects which the fly past will resolve as to whether it is or isn't. It will be the furthest object in space to be visited by a space probe. It is hoped the probe will pass by on New Years Day 2019.

Image of Ultima Thule

Image of Ultima Thule.

Path of Ultima Thule Orbit

If the white lines are above, then the path of the object is under the ecliptic. If the white lines are below, the path is above the ecliptic. This refers to the Inclination of the object. The image was created using N.A.S.A. Solar System Dynamics.

Path of Ultima Thule Orbit

Ultima Thule Facts

TypeKuiper Belt Object
Alternative Name2014 MU69
DiscovererHubble Space Telescope
Orbital Period298 Years
Absolute Magnitude11.1
Aphelion (Furthest)46.442 A.U.
Argument of Perihelion174.4178
Mean Anomoly316.55086
Semi-Major Axis44.5813998 A.U.
Orbital Inclination (degrees)2.45116
Orbital Eccentricity0.0417249

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