An asteroid the size of the Colosseum! ☄️ #shorts
The Webb observations which revealed this small asteroid were not originally designed to hunt for new asteroids — in fact, they were calibration images of the main-belt asteroid (10920) 1998 BC1, which astronomers discovered in 1998, but the calibration team considered them to have failed for technical reasons due to the brightness of the target and an offset telescope pointing. Despite this, the data on asteroid 10920 were used by the team to establish and test a new technique to constrain an object’s orbit and to estimate its size. The validity of the method was demonstrated for asteroid 10920 using Webb observations combined with data from ground-based telescopes and ESA’s Gaia mission.
In the course of the analysis of Webb’s data, the team found the smaller and previously unknown interloper in the same field of view. The team’s results suggest the object measures 100–200 meters, occupies a very low-inclination orbit, and was located in the inner main-belt region at the time of the Webb observations.
Learn more: https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Webb/Webb_detects_extremely_small_main-belt_asteroid
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