NASA Releases New Images of Ultima Thule in 3D
New Stereo View Images of Ultima Thule
Last week, NASA released a series of stereoscopic images of the Kuiper Belt object known as Ultima Thule, the farthest ever object visited by a man made spacecraft.
The images utilize the way our brain processes depth by using the differences between the images received at the slightly different viewing angles of our eyes and using them to ascertain depth information.
The greater the difference, the nearer the object is to us.
To create the images, NASA took paired sets of processed images taken by New Horizons’ Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) 25 minutes apart, at 5:01 and 5:26 UTC on January 1st. Respectively, New Horizons was 17,400 miles and 4,100 miles away from Ultima Thule when the images were captured.
The original scales of the images were around 430 ft/pixel and 110 ft/pixel, respectively.
“These views provide a clearer picture of Ultima Thule’s overall shape,” said Alan Stern, Principal Investigator at Boulder, Colorado’s Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), “including the flattened shape of the large lobe, as well as the shape of individual topographic features such as the "neck" connecting the two lobes, the large depression on the smaller lobe, and hills and valleys on the larger lobe.”
"We have been looking forward to this high-quality stereo view since long before the flyby,” added New Horizons deputy project scientist John Spencer, also of SwRI. “Now we can use this rich, three-dimensional view to help us understand how Ultima Thule came to have its extraordinary shape."
Ultima Thule in 3D!
These are all the stereoscopic images released by NASA.
Blue-Red Glasses View
If you happen to have a pair of blue-red 3D glasses lying around, bust them out!
According to NASA, "For this view, change your focus from the image by looking 'through' it (and the screen) and into the distance. This will create the effect of a third image in the middle; try setting your focus on that third image." I have to quote NASA, because I always failed at Magic Eye as a child, so I can't help you with this one.
This one I find the easiest to pull off. Simply cross you eyes until the "double" image of Ultima Thule converges in the middle, then focus on that middle image.