Smallest main belt asteroid detected by James Webb telescope - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Smallest main belt asteroid detected by James Webb telescope: NASA

AFP | | Posted by Shobhit Gupta
Feb 07, 2023 12:20 PM IST

The asteroid measuring between 300 and 650 feet (100 to 200 meters) in length is the smallest object observed to date using the telescope, the US space agency NASA said Monday.

European astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have detected a previously unknown asteroid about the size of Rome's Colosseum in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The asteroid was detected during calibration of the telescope's Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI).
The asteroid was detected during calibration of the telescope's Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI).

The asteroid measuring between 300 and 650 feet (100 to 200 meters) in length is the smallest object observed to date using the telescope, the US space agency NASA said Monday.

Read here: Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll tops 4,000 as rescuers scramble

The European astronomers "serendipitously detected" the asteroid, NASA said in a statement, adding that more observations would be needed to better characterize its nature and properties.

"We -- completely unexpectedly -- detected a small asteroid," said Thomas Muller, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.

It was detected during calibration of the telescope's Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which operates in mid-infrared wavelengths.

"Webb's incredible sensitivity made it possible to see this roughly 100-meter object at a distance of more than 100 million kilometers," Muller said.

Webb, which has been operational since July, is the most powerful space telescope ever built and has unleashed a raft of unprecedented data as well as stunning images.

One of the main goals for the $10 billion telescope is to study the life cycle of stars. Another main research focus is on exoplanets, planets outside Earth's solar system.

Read here: Don't ‘regret’ time as UK PM, Liz Truss says with a message for Rishi Sunak

Webb was not designed to look for small objects such as the newly-discovered asteroid, but Muller said its discovery "suggests that many new objects will be detected with this instrument."

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On