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New Horizons' Recently Captured Image Breaks Voyager 1's 27-Year Record

New Horizons' Recently Captured Image Breaks Voyager 1's 27-Year Record

At the time, New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from Earth.

The images for "Pale Blue Dot" - part of a composite - were taken 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers) away.

On December 5th, 2017, New Horizons turned its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to the galactic open star cluster known as the "Wishing Well" and took a shot. "And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history". So, after exploring Pluto in 2015, New Horizons, started on its secondary mission to explore 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO), which it should reach in 2019.

On December 5, New Horizons trained its camera on the "Wishing Well" cluster of stars, followed by two objects in the Kuiper Belt - the massive band of rocks and dwarf planets on the outer fringes of the solar system, NPR reports.

For the past 27 years, Voyager 1 has been the record holder for the farthest captured image in history. According to a NASA press release, two hours later, it snapped images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, setting yet another record.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, released Thursday. Given that the New Horizons is still making its way through the solar system, it's entirely possible there will be more incredibly distant images in the weeks and months to come.

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But New Horizons is the first to send back a picture for so far afield.

New Horizons has observed several objects in the Kuiper Belt, a distant region of icy debris that extends far beyond the orbit of Neptune.

New Horizons is just the fifth spacecraft to speed beyond the outer planets, so many of its activities set distance records. In the process, it sent back of the distant world, which for decades had appeared as little more than a smudge to even the most advanced telescopes on Earth. "New Horizons is on the hunt to understand these objects, and we invite everyone to ring in the next year with the excitement of exploring the unknown".

On Earth, NASA's Deep Space Network antenna dishes catch the faint signals coming from New Horizons and reassemble the raw data into a usable form.

The piano-sized probe then turned to the Kuiper Belt.