Photobombed! Asteroid sneaks into this Hubble Space Telescope image | Tech News

Photobombed! Asteroid sneaks into this Hubble Space Telescope image

An asteroid has been caught sneaking into a galaxy image by the Hubble Space telescope. Here is all you need to know.

| Updated on: Jan 19 2023, 16:02 IST
6 STRANGEST massive black hole discoveries in 2022 that shook the world
Asteroid streaking a field of galaxy.
1/6 One of the most startling discoveries of 2022 was a massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Known as Sagittarius A*, a direct image of this massive space entity was taken by the Event Horizon Telescope. With around 4 times the mass of our Sun, it is believed that the black hole plays a key role in holding our galaxy together. (Photo courtesy: Nasa)
Asteroid streaking a field of galaxy.
2/6 Even as Sagittarius A* lies within our own galaxy, it is not the closest black hole to the Earth. That title goes to the cosmic matter eating void, lying 1,566 light years away from the Earth in the Ophiuchus constellation. It was discovered in November.  (NASA)
Asteroid streaking a field of galaxy.
3/6 But if a black hole in our cosmic backyard does not scare you, maybe this will. 2022 was also the year scientists discovered a rogue black hole wandering in space. This discovery is particularly of value since it was always believed that isolated black holes exist but it was never seen due to the difficulty in spotting them. Usually all the black holes we know of are part of a binary system, along with a neutron star. (NASA)
Asteroid streaking a field of galaxy.
4/6 A rare moment occurred in December 2022 when NASA spotted a black hole eating a passing star in a rare moment known as a tidal disruption event. It was believed that the star consumed by the black hole was similar to our Sun.    (AP)
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5/6 Even after decades of research and space exploration, we have still only observed just a few black holes in the universe. However, a study published this year has made some terrifying claims. Based on the number of stars spotted which are capable of turning into a black hole, and some number crunching on the potential number of stars that can exist, it was said that the universe currently contains 40 quintillion stellar-mass black holes. (AFP)
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6/6 Finally, the brightest black hole was also discovered this year. Known as J1144, this monstrous black hole is 500 times larger than Sagittarius A* and apparently it consumes matter worth the size of the Earth every second. Because of its consumption rate, it has created a massive accretion disk which makes it so bright. In fact, it can even be seen using a regular telescope. (NASA)
Asteroid streaking a field of galaxy.
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has caught an asteroid streaking a field of galaxy. (ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Tully)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has been capturing and sharing some amazing glimpses of space. Sharing one of Hubble's images, the European Space Agency (ESA) informed that the image has been photobombed by a host of astronomical objects, especially an asteroid. In the centre of the image, the vague shape of the small galaxy UGC 7983 appears as a hazy cloud of light and an asteroid can be seen as a row of four thin consecutive lines spreading from the left upper corner.

"A host of astronomical objects throng this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Background galaxies ranging from stately spirals to fuzzy ellipticals are strewn across the image, and bright foreground stars much closer to home are also present, surrounded by diffraction spikes. In the centre of the image, the vague shape of the small galaxy UGC 7983 appears as a hazy cloud of light. UGC 7983 is around 30 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, and is a dwarf irregular galaxy — a type thought to be similar to the very earliest galaxies in the Universe," said in a report.

As per the information, the image also conceals an astronomical interloper. A minor asteroid, only a handful of kilometers across, can be seen streaking across the upper left-hand side of this image. The trail of the asteroid is visible as four streaks of light separated by small gaps. These streaks of light represent the four separate exposures that were combined to create this image, the small gaps between each observation being necessary to change the filters inside Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Capturing an asteroid was a fortunate side effect of a larger effort to observe every known galaxy close to the Milky Way, the report stated. When this project was first proposed, roughly 75 percent of all the Milky Way's near galactic neighbours had been imaged by Hubble. A group of astronomers proposed using the gaps between longer Hubble observations to capture images of the remaining 25 percent.

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First Published Date: 19 Jan, 16:02 IST