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Hubble Catches Asteroids Photobombing Ultra-Distant Galaxies

10 Nov 2017, 15:01 UTC
Hubble Catches Asteroids Photobombing Ultra-Distant Galaxies
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While the cluster Abell 370 is spectacular, located hundreds of millions of light years away, asteroids from within our own Solar System, 10¹⁶ times closer, streak through Hubble’s field of view in the ultimate cosmic photobomb. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and B. Sunnquist and J. Mack (STScI); Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI) and the HFF Team.From millions of miles to millions of light years, there’s nothing else that leaves trails like this.When you point your telescope at the distant Universe, observing a faint, massive object in a narrow field of view, you don’t expect to see very much in your way. The Hubble Space Telescope is famed for it’s deep observing capabilities, but it isn’t a wide-field instrument by any stretch. It would take tens of millions of images from Hubble to cover the entire sky. But there are millions of asteroids in our Solar System, and some of our observing targets happen to fall along a line-of-sight that overlaps with where the asteroids lie. Since both the Hubble Space Telescope and the asteroids themselves are in motion, it’s inevitable that when an asteroid passes through, it won’t leave a point of light, but rather a streak on ...

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