Recently, NASA's New Horizons captured again a 90-mile Kuiper Belt Object (KBO), orbiting 3 billion miles from the sun. Discovered on May 12, 1994, it was named as 1994 JR1 or Plutino 15810, a minor planet located in the Kuiper Belt.
According to Sci News, Kuiper Belt Object 1994 JR1 is an accidental quasi-satellite of Pluto that will last for 350,000 years. It reported that New Horizons was able to capture four low-resolution images of 1994 JR1 on Nov. 2, 2015, using the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).
As per The Christian Science Monitor, the sighting last year held the previous record for the closest view of a Kuiper Belt Object. But this year, using the same instrument, it was able to take snapshots of the Kuiper Belt Object on April 7 and 8 that broke last year's photos.
"Combining the November 2015 and April 2016 observation allows us to pinpoint the location of JR1 to within 1,000 kilometers (about 600 miles), far better than any small KBO," said SwRI New Horizons team member Simon Porter in a joint release as reported by The Christian Science Monitor.
The team measured the varying intensity of light reflected off by 1994 JR1 to determine how long a day lasts in the said Kuiper Belt Object. It lasts 5.4 hours, which is relatively fast, according to New Horizons' team member, John Spencer.
This prepares the team for planned flybys of other Kuiper Belt Objects. It plans to have a close look at 2014 MU69 in the future. New Horizons will cover two more billion miles of the edges of the solar system until 2021 (via The Christian Science Monitor).
The Kuiper Belt is found at an icy region beyond Neptune. It holds trillions of objects that were left from the early solar system. Scientists are currently looking for a ninth planet located in the area after it saw evidence last January 20, 2016 (via Space.com).
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