NASA, ESA, SWRI, JHU / APL, AND THE NEW HORIZONS KBO SEARCH TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA, ESA, SWRI, JHU / APL, AND THE NEW HORIZONS KBO SEARCH TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Discovery of 2014 MU69 (Ultima Thule), Hubble Space Telescope (HST) montage. The Kuiper Belt Extended Mission of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft involves exploring Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), with the first encounter taking place on 1 January 2019. The target for this flyby (nicknamed Ultima Thule) was detected and selected in 2014 using these multiple exposures from the HST. Ultima Thule is marked by the circles at centre, here in the constellation of Sagittarius. The initial tracking names for this object were 1110113Y or PT1 (potential target 1). It was later named 2014 MU69 by the Minor Planet Center. It also has the official minor planet number 486958 and is also known as (486958) 2014 MU69. Once the data from the flyby has been studied, the object will be renamed named using International Astronomical Union (IAU) guidelines.
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