Distant stellar object renamed Ultima Thule now called Arrokoth2019.11.27
THE farthest celestial body to be visited by a space probe, 6.4 billion kilometres away from Earth, is to be called ‘Arrokoth’ from now on. The new official name of the space object, formerly known as Ultima Thule, is a Native American Powhatan (波瓦坦的) word meaning ‘sky’.
In early 2019, Nasa’s probe, called New Horizons, came across the very mysterious object for the first time. In mid- November, Nasa announced that the new name had been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU, 國際天文聯會). The reason behind the change was that the term ‘ultima thule’ is related to the Nazis from Germany.
Before the announcement, Nasa first got the approval from the tribal elders. The New Horizons team was the ones who submitted the name to the IAU. New Horizons was launched back in 2006 and passed Pluto in 2016.
(This article is published on Goodies on 27 November 2019)