Nov 19, 2019 - Science

A new name for a far away world

Arrokoth as seen by New Horizons

Arrokoth as seen by New Horizons. Photo: NASA/JHU-APL

The most distant world ever observed from close range has an official name: Arrokoth, meaning "sky" in the Powhatan/Algonquian language.

The big picture: NASA's New Horizons had its close flyby of the body — located 1 billion miles past Pluto — on New Year's Day 2019.

“We graciously accept this gift from the Powhatan people. Bestowing the name Arrokoth signifies the strength and endurance of the indigenous Algonquian people of the Chesapeake region.”
— Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in a statement

Between the lines: Scientists originally nicknamed the object "Ultima Thule," however, controversy around that name erupted when Newsweek first reported that the name was historically tied to the Nazi regime.

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