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Five New Asteroids Surprise Astronomers In Hubble Images (sciencemag.org) 33

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: Five previously unknown asteroids in our solar system have photobombed new Hubble Space Telescope images. Astronomers spotted the space rocks -- plus another two that had been previously catalogued in images collected as part of the Frontier Fields project, which observed six clusters of galaxies billions of light-years away. When multiple exposures obtained at different times were stacked together to produce the image above, the asteroids showed up as trails because they had moved between exposures, and some of the asteroids were spotted more than once. The five new asteroids orbit within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Previous studies missed them because they're extremely faint
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Five New Asteroids Surprise Astronomers In Hubble Images

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  • by Fragholio ( 574860 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @06:04AM (#55481419)
    I'd rather be photobombed by an asteroid than regular bombed by one.
  • According to wikipedia an asteroid is between 1m and 1km in diameter. Roughly 500 000 asteroids have been confirmed in our solar system and another 250k objects with what I assume is vague data. "Among all the surveys, 4711 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered[18] including over 600 more than 1 km (0.6 mi) in diameter." With this information available I wonder, what is news worthy with 5 more found between mars and jupiter?
    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @09:01AM (#55481961)

      It’s newsworthy because, after all these years of detailed searches for asteroids using different instruments, some of them specially optimized for the purpose, we find a few new ones unexpectedly using Hubble. How many more, including Earth crossing threats, have been missed?

    • What is newsworthy is that these 5 were found by Hubble and had been missed by earlier attempts to catalog the asteroid belt.

      These are extremely faint objects, that were seen by Hubble while it was gathering extremely faint light from very distant galaxies.

      Hubble has a very narrow field of view.

      To discover 5 faint asteroids in this incidental way suggests that there may be a lot more stuff in the asteroid belt than previously estimated. Anything that fuels that kind of speculation is newsworthy on slashd

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Friday November 03, 2017 @07:42AM (#55481615)
    It's cool that the paths across the image are curved. Since the HST is in Earth orbit, the direction to the asteroid changes during the exposure time of the image. From the ground, the Earth's rotation is not fast enough to notice that effect.
  • The story sounds neat and all, but I can't actually see the purported images. Both links come from Science magazine: one was copied verbatim for the Slashdot posting; the other runs smack into a paywall. Without the pics, it may as well not exist - why bother posting the story at all? My guess is that submitter sciencehabit is a shill for the magazine, and Slashdot bought into it without checking the sources.
    • by Tx ( 96709 )

      It is a particularly crappy post. There's not much to the story except for the images, which as you say were not included (bar one) or linked. And science stories should always post references; none in this story.

      I found a set of images accompanying the press release on the Hubble site [hubblesite.org], accompanying the press release [hubblesite.org] which this story regurgitated.

      • by Tx ( 96709 )

        *I found a set of images on the Hubble site [hubblesite.org], accompanying the press release [hubblesite.org] which this story regurgitated.

        Argh. You know what I meant.

        • No. I have no idea exactly what you might have meant. It seems that your comment is of the same kind of fuzzy nature as your apparent criticism of TFA.

          Just saying.

          • by Tx ( 96709 )

            I said in so many words that TFA is a copy-pasted press release, with links to the most important part - the images - missing, and no attribution. Which part of that do you consider "fuzzy"?

            • Thank you for the clarification.

              I've looked at some of the photos and they are remarkable. Some of the arcs are nearly 3/4ths of a circle, which suggests an exposure time of 3/4ths of hubble's orbit, or about 70 minutes. These were very faint images.

    • by myid ( 3783581 )

      The story sounds neat and all, but I can't actually see the purported images.

      This [hubblesite.org], this [hubblesite.org] and this [hubblesite.org] might be the images.

      I did a Google on
      5 asteroids "hubble space telescope" 2017 "frontier fields"

      then picked the link
      News - HubbleSite: Images
      hubblesite.org/images/news - Cached
      Compass Image for Asteroids in Hubble Frontier Fields. Nov 2, 2017.
      Compass Image for Asteroids in Hubble Frontier Fields ...

      That web page [hubblesite.org] has three images dated Nov 2, 2017, whose captions include the word "Asteroids". I'm guessing those images show the newly-discovered asteroids.

Information is the inverse of entropy.