Surprise asteroid photobombs Hubble telescope image, can you see it?
The Hubble Space Telescope caught an unexpected asteroid streaking across a field of distant galaxies.
In the image, released Monday (Jan. 16) by the European Space Agency (ESA), the asteroid can be seen as a row of four thin consecutive lines, captured in alternating shades of blue and orange, spreading from the top left corner to the center portion of the image.
The asteroid, ESA said in a pronunciation (opens in new tab)is only a few kilometers wide and is part of our solar system. However, the other objects seen in the image are much further away. The Hubble Space Telescope took the image as part of a campaign aimed at observing all of our galaxy’s closest galactic neighbors, the Milky Way.
When the project was proposed, only 75% of the Milky Way’s galactic neighbors were imaged by Hubble, ESA said in the statement. To capture the remaining 25%, astronomers used gaps between longer observing campaigns in the telescope’s schedule.
“The project was an elegant, efficient way to fill some gaps not only in Hubble’s observing schedule, but also in our knowledge of nearby galaxies,” ESA said in the statement.
The asteroid in the image appears as four separate stripes because the image consists of four exposures. Each line is a different color because of the filters used by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, which captured the images.
The image dominates a small one universe known as UGC 7938. Located at about 30 mil light years from Soil in the Zodiac sign Virgo, UGC 7938 appears as a grainy, faint cloud in the center of the frame. The dwarf galaxy, characteristic for its irregularity, is a primitive type that astronomers believe was common in the early universe when galaxies began to form.
Dozens of background galaxies are scattered throughout the image, ranging from evolved spirals to simple cross trainers which have not yet developed a more complex internal structure. The simple orange and white specks of light that appear in the image are stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
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