Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Unexpectedly, Webb detects a small asteroid

European Astronomers Using Space Telescope NASA’s James Webb detected an asteroid the size of rome coliseum (between 100 to 200 meters in length).

Their project used data from mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) calibrations, which the team happened to detect an interstellar asteroid. The object is probably the smallest object ever observed by the Webb and may be an example of an object smaller than a kilometer long within the main asteroid belt, is located between Mars and Jupiter. More observations are needed to better characterize the nature and properties of this object.

“Completely unexpectedly, we have detected a small asteroid Of the publicly available MIRI calibration observations,” Thomas Müller, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, explained in a statement. “The measurements are some of the first by MIRI directed at the ecliptic plane and our work shows that this instrument Many new objects will be detected along the way.”

Unexpectedly, Webb Detects A Small Asteroid

Photo: NASA

These observations by Webb, published in the journal astronomy and astrophysics, they were not designed to hunt for new asteroids; In fact, these were the calibration images Main belt asteroid (10920) 1998 BC 1, Which was discovered by astronomers in 1998. Observations were made to test the performance of some of MIRI’s filters, but the calibration team decided that they failed for technical reasons due to target brightness and off-pointing of the telescope.

Nevertheless, data from asteroid 10920 served the team To establish and test a new technique for constraining the orbit of an object and estimating its size. The validity of the method was demonstrated for asteroid 10920 using MIRI observations combined with data from ground-based telescopes and ESA’s Gaia mission.

While analyzing the MIRI data, the team discovered a smaller asteroid in the same region. The team’s results show that the object is between 100 and 200 meters across, It is in a very low inclination orbit and was in the inner region of the main belt at the time of Webb’s observations.

“Our results show that even Webb’s ‘failed’ observations can be scientifically useful, if you have the right mindset and a little bit of luck,” explains Müller. “Our address is in the main asteroid belt, but Webb’s incredible sensitivity made it possible to see this object About 100 meters at a distance of more than 100 million kilometers.

Unexpectedly, Webb Detects A Small Asteroid

Photo: NASA

The detection of this asteroid – which the team suspects is the smallest ever observed by Webb and one of the smallest found in the main-belt – if confirmed as the discovery of a new asteroid, important implications for our understanding of the formation and evolution of the Solar System.

predict the appearance of the current model very small asteroid, but due to the difficulty of observing these objects have been studied in less detail than their larger counterparts. Webb’s future observations will allow astronomers to study asteroids less than a kilometer in size.

Furthermore, this result suggests that Webb may also contribute to the detection of new asteroids by chance. the team suspects him too Miniature MIRI observations close to the plane of the Solar System They will always include some asteroids, most of which will be unknown objects.

To confirm that the discovered object is a newly discovered asteroid, More positional data is needed relative to the background stars From follow-up studies to constrain the orbit of the object.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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