DISCUSSION: Although captured in December 2017, NASA has now released images of the farthest photos ever taken from Earth by a spacecraft. The New Horizons LORRI (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager) captured false-color images of Objects 2012 HZ84 (left) and 2012 HE85 (right) in the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is a region located beyond the orbit of Neptune with asteroids, comets and other bodies made of mostly ice.
On December 5, 2017, the spacecraft snapped the images just over 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from the Kuiper Belt objects. To put it into perspective, the Earth is located about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the Sun. The photo surpassed the “Pale Blue Dot” images of Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1. The New Horizons flew past Pluto back in 2015 and is on course to fly by another icy body in the Kuiper Belt at the outer reaches of the solar system in January 2019.
After being launched in 2006, the New Horizons has fully lived up to its expectations. Although currently in electronic hibernation, the spacecraft will be reawakened in June 2018 by flight controllers in a lab in Johns Hopkins University in Laurel, Maryland. It will continue to glide during its preparation for its visit with 2014 MU69 in the Kuiper Belt.
Check out this link to read more about this historic event.
To learn more about space-weather related stories, click here!
©2018 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri