New Horizons Spacecraft Set to Become Fifth Object Departing the Solar System
The spacecraft New Horizons is soon to become the fifth object to venture beyond the bounds of the Solar System, offering scientists the potential for new explorations of space. Having embarked on a journey to the edge of the Solar System, the spacecraft has already transmitted its initial images back to Earth. This development has been reported by Science Alert.
New Horizons will have the capability to capture photographs of the Universe devoid of distortions caused by solar light. The significance lies in the fact that even space telescopes such as Hubble and James Webb are unable to capture images unaffected by solar light. Within our Solar System, myriad particles reflect its light, thereby influencing the images taken by telescopes. The images captured by New Horizons, which is nearing the Solar System's boundaries, are free from such shortcomings.
These photographs have enabled scientists to determine that the sky at the system's edge is not as dark as previously hypothesized. The light in these images was found to be significantly more intense than scientists had expected, as they analyzed the light from galaxies situated in the spacecraft's direction of motion. Particularly significant was the image taken in the darkest section of the Milky Way, aimed at minimizing background glare.
When calculating the background light that could be expected from distant galaxies up to the Big Bang, New Horizons measured approximately twice as much. Therefore, the team plans to observe 15 other dark areas over the next month, hoping to witness the true darkness of space or confirm this enigmatic background glow.
In 2015, New Horizons flew past Pluto, followed by a pass near the Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth. Currently, it is twice as far from the Sun, yet its cameras can still collect and transmit data back to Earth. Prior to this, only four spacecraft had embarked on similar journeys to the edge of the Solar System—Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, as well as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Thus, New Horizons, aside from its crucial role in collecting and transmitting vital scientific data, will also mark itself as the fifth human-made object to exit the confines of the Solar System.
It's worth mentioning that the Hubble Space Telescope has recently photographed the "unconventional" galaxy ESO 300-16, considered one of the galactic neighbors of the Milky Way.
According to scientists, the galaxy ESO 300-16 is deemed "unconventional" due to its unique gravitational interactions, resulting in a "chaotic and amorphous" shape—an outcome of gravitational interactions between stars and matter both within itself and with other galaxies.