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A small asteroid detected by the James Webb telescope


Sent into space to explore the Universe, the most powerful space telescope ever built was able to observe this object at a distance

An asteroid the size of the Roman Colosseum!

European astronomers detected "by chance", using the James Webb space telescope, this presence in the main asteroid belt located between the planets Mars and Jupiter.

This asteroid, which measures between 100 and 200 meters wide, is the smallest object observed for the moment using the space telescope, NASA said on Monday.

It was “detected by chance” by European astronomers, added the American space agency in a press release, specifying that other observations would be necessary to better characterize its nature and its properties.

Teeny Tiny Photobomb!


Scientists found a surprise while looking through test data from Webb's MIRI instrument.

Webb serendipitously captured an asteroid (illustrated here) just 100-200 meters in length — likely its smallest object seen yet:

— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) February 6, 2023

“The incredible sensitivity of the (James) Webb telescope made it possible to observe this object about 100 meters (wide) at a distance of more than one hundred million kilometers,” said Thomas Muller, astronomer at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

The discovery of this star occurred during the calibration of the MIRI infrared observation tool, the result of a collaboration between Europeans and Americans.

A telescope operational since last July

James Webb, launched into space by an Ariane 5 rocket, has been operational since July 2022. It is the most powerful space telescope ever built and has collected a large amount of data and captured breathtaking images.

In project since the 1990s, it is stationed 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, with enough fuel to operate for 20 years.

Read alsoJames Webb, the photo album of the universe deciphered image by image

One of the missions of James Webb, a jewel of engineering worth 10 billion dollars, is the exploration of the very young Universe.

It also aims to search for exoplanets.

The telescope was not designed to search for small objects such as this new asteroid, but Thomas Muller said his discovery "suggests that many new objects will be detected with this instrument".

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2023-02-06

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