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2014 MU69 "Ultima Thule" flyby, For discussion of the encounter as it happens
elakdawalla
post Dec 13 2018, 10:12 PM
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It's only 10 days now until the "Core" phase of the 2014 MU69 flyby begins! I thought it was time for a new thread. Carry on discussing distant observations of other KBO worlds in the KBO encounters thread, and use this one for MU69 until after the departure phase is officially over on 8 January.

I'll be posting a "What to Expect" article next week.


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Steve5304
post Dec 15 2018, 10:54 PM
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How longafter flyby will we get the first image or hint of success?
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Explorer1
post Dec 16 2018, 12:11 AM
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Nice overview at the bottom of this post: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis...ut-100days.html
QUOTE
Then, there won't be much to do but wait and hope that things go according to plan. Around 10:00 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, the team expects to get a health and safety report from New Horizons letting them know it survived the encounter. The first up-close images of Ultima Thule are expected to arrive on Earth between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. EST Jan. 1 (22:00 on Jan. 1 and 00:00 on Jan. 2 UTC), a NASA spokesperson said.
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nprev
post Dec 16 2018, 02:10 AM
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One thing I'm curious about is the anticipated total data acquisition as well as the time that will be required to downlink it at this greater distance. Obviously there won't be nearly as much data as there was from Pluto just because UT is pretty tiny and the near encounter hi-res phase will thus be exceedingly brief, but as with the Pluto encounter I wonder if they're gonna have an expected recorder space used message as part of the survival confirmation message.


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Alan Stern
post Dec 16 2018, 03:24 AM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 16 2018, 03:10 AM) *
On thing I'm curious about is the anticipated total data acquisition as well as the time that will be required to downlink it at this greater distance. Obviously there won't be nearly as much data as there was from Pluto just because UT is pretty tiny and the near encounter hi-res phase will thus be exceedingly brief, but as with the Pluto encounter I wonder if they're gonna have an expected recorder space used message as part of the survival confirmation message.


Actually the total data volume taken and stored on the recorders is very close to the same as at Pluto; downloading it all will take 20 months. Through Aug-Sep, 2020.
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nprev
post Dec 16 2018, 04:40 AM
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Really! Delighted to be wrong, then. Thank you, Alan! smile.gif

So there will be an 'expected volume acquired' ping post-flyby as well, then? That was a big moment at Pluto.


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Explorer1
post Dec 24 2018, 06:44 PM
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And we have our first mystery: No light curve!
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-A...p?page=20181220
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fredk
post Dec 24 2018, 07:09 PM
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What about a very slow rotation rate? I didn't see anything about what interval the light curve was taken over. Presumably the lightcurve would look flat if the rotation period was significantly longer than the interval the lightcurve was measured over.

I don't know whether there may be expectations that these objects rotate faster than some rate - if so, that could explain the surprize.
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Alan Stern
post Dec 24 2018, 10:30 PM
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QUOTE (fredk @ Dec 24 2018, 07:09 PM) *
What about a very slow rotation rate? I didn't see anything about what interval the light curve was taken over. Presumably the lightcurve would look flat if the rotation period was significantly longer than the interval the lightcurve was measured over.

I don't know whether there may be expectations that these objects rotate faster than some rate - if so, that could explain the surprise.



We have photometry from HST stretching over years and on NH we have been making measurements routinely since September; since later November the SNRs have been quite good. We're looking for periods ranging from ridiculously long (weeks) to ridiculously short (2 hours). Nothing firm yet.
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NMRguy
post Dec 25 2018, 05:23 AM
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Very curious for better resolution on the shape of the object, if itís a dumbbell, a binary or something more conventional. The occultation data was certainly curious. Best to the amazing NH team in the coming weeks.
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scalbers
post Dec 25 2018, 04:18 PM
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I wonder how much difference there is in the Ultima Thule viewing angles presently from New Horizons and the from Earth perspective informing the occultation data? Consideration of this may help constrain a 3-D shape model (and light curve interpretation). The answer to this is a modest about 11 degree difference, since Emily's article mentions an 11 degree phase angle from NH and we can assume a near zero phase angle from Earth.

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakda...tima-thule.html


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Explorer1
post Dec 26 2018, 06:36 PM
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Nice interview on Planetary Radio, some very good details: http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/planet...w-horizons.html
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WTW
post Dec 27 2018, 06:15 PM
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Very good Engineering Colloquia presentation by Marc Buie at Space Telescope Science Institute on the challenges re. discovery and tracking of MU69, and of the encounter itself:

https://webcast.stsci.edu/webcast/detail.xh...47&parent=1
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nprev
post Dec 28 2018, 01:37 AM
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Emily has posted a new article providing links to flyby coverage.

ADMIN NOTE: There will likely be no NASA TV or other NASA media coverage of the event due to the partial government shutdown in the United States at this time. All members are reminded to please read and heed rule 1.2. We have to acknowledge this fact, but we will not discuss or debate it.

The Forum is politics-free, and it will stay that way.

Thanks!


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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Explorer1
post Dec 28 2018, 02:45 AM
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Based on the Administrator's recent tweet, and this observation by Keith Cowing, I think there might be something on NASA TV after all. The last few shutdowns had no major space events happening, so my guess is that some arrangement must have been made behind the scenes. We'll see if there is actually a briefing tomorrow...
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