NASA's New Horizon spacecraft took a series of pictures between 3 p.m. EST (8:00 GMT) on December 31, 2018 and at 12:01 AM EST (5:01 am GMT) January 1, 2019, which was later tied together to make a movie showing the propeller-like rotation of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule (also known as 2014 MU69).
New horizons had a close encounter with Ultima Thule at. 12.33 EST (5:33 GMT) January 1, 2019 and completed at a distance of approx. 2100 miles 3,500 km) from the object.
The spacecraft linked two high-resolution images of the Kuiper Belt object immediately after the fly-by.
The pictures show that Ultima Thule measures 1
They also show that the object does not have rings or satellites larger than a mile in diameter and lacks an atmosphere.
The more distant images of Ultima Thule were sent home on January 12 to 14, after a week, when New Horizons was too close to the sun for reliable communications.
The probe continues to send images – including its closest view of Ultima Thule – and data over the coming many months.
The New Horizons science team will use them to determine the object's 3D shape, in order to better understand its nature and origin.