NASA Sets New Record for Long-Distance Photography

NASA Sets New Record for Long-Distance Photography

Those scientists over at NASA do some pretty cool stuff, one of which is sending spacecraft filled with probes and cameras deep into space. One of those spacecraft just set a record by taking a photograph while 3.79 billion miles from Earth.

For almost three decades, "Pale Blue Dot" remained unchallenged as the photo taken the farthest distance from Earth, but NASA recently broke that record with the New Horizons spacecraft, previously famous for its flyby of Pluto. On December 5, 2017, New Horizons took two sets of images, first of the Wishing Well star cluster, then of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, making the latter images the farthest from Earth that photographs have ever been taken.

The Wishing Well cluster

Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85

New Horizons was so far away when it snapped the photo that even at the blistering speed of light, over 186,000 miles per second, it took approximately 5 hours and 39 minutes for the signal to reach Earth. The New Horizons mission is far from over, with the next major milestone being the farthest planetary flyby in history, when it observes MU69, over a billion miles past the Pluto system. 

All images by NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI, public domain.

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3 Comments

Alex Cooke's picture

That's pretty much how I imagine them sitting in the control room.

michael buehrle's picture

those don't look like they are over 2 billion miles.........
plus, who is their competition ? i bet there are aliens taking photos from much farther away.