An artist’s impression of the irregular, unknown asteroid.[N. Bartmann (ESA/Webb), ESO/M. Kornmesser and S. Brunier, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)]
[The Epoch Times, February 08, 2023](Compiled and reported by Epoch Times reporter Zhang Yufei) The James Webb Space Telescope made history again with its latest observation results. Recently, it successfully discovered an unknown asteroid whose size is only close to the Roman Colosseum. But the discovery was a fortuitous surprise for astronomers.
NASA said in a statement on Monday (February 6) that an international team of European astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope (James Webb Space Telescope) detected a star between 100 and 100 meters long. It is about the size of the Roman Colosseum. It is located in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This celestial body may be the smallest celestial body observed by Webb so far.
Asteroids are small bodies of rock or metal that orbit the sun. The asteroid belt is a dense area of asteroids between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in the solar system. Among the 120,437 asteroids that have been numbered, 98.5% have been found here, so this area is also called the main asteroid. The planetary belt, referred to as the “main belt”.
NASA also said there are still some uncertainties about the new space rock, and follow-up studies are needed to clarify its orbit and confirm whether it is a previously unknown asteroid.
Dr Thomas Muller, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, said the asteroid was being tested during the calibration performance of Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Discovered by accident. In fact, Webb was observing a known main-belt asteroid, named (10920) 1998 BC1, and this new discovery essentially interfered with the observations.
Muller said the discovery of the asteroid was “totally unexpected,” but it was yet another testament to Webb’s advanced capabilities. “Our detection is in the main asteroid belt, but Webb’s amazing sensitivity made it possible to see this object, which is only about 100 meters long, from a distance of more than 100 million kilometers,” he said.
The $10 billion Webb Telescope, which began operations in July last year, is the most powerful space telescope ever built, and has collected a lot of unprecedented data and amazing images so far.
The research results were published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on February 6.
Responsible editor: Han Yu#