Asteroid “photobombed” Hubble observations

The presented image was published by the Hubble Mission support team. It shows a section of the sky in the constellation Virgo. The center of the image is dominated by the galaxy UGC 7983.

Irregular dwarf galaxy UGC 7983. Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Tully

UGC 7983 is located at a distance of 30 million light-years from Earth. It is much smaller than the Milky Way and, unlike our galaxy, does not have any ordered structure. Astronomers call such objects irregular dwarf galaxies. It was believed that the early galaxies that appeared immediately after the Big Bang resembled UGC 7983.

A number of other objects can also be seen in the Hubble photo. Most of them are more distant background galaxies and have characteristic spiral and elliptical shapes. But a few years are much closer and represent the stars of our Milky Way. They can be identified by the characteristic diffraction rays.

Also in the picture is an object that is located in the Solar system. We are talking about a small asteroid that left its mark in the upper left corner of the image. You can pay attention that it consists of four separate multi-colored stripes separated by small gaps. They correspond to the four separate exposures required to obtain the photograph. The ruptures occurred during the filter change inside the ACS camera installed on board the Hubble.

The image of UGC 7983 was taken as part of a project aimed at photographing the surroundings of the Milky Way. It is performed during short breaks when engineers deploy Hubble to aim it at another object.

Earlier we talked about how NASA asked commercial space companies to save Hubble.

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