Asteroids in our solar system photobombed deep images of thousands of galaxies in the universe captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, according to NASA. The asteroids that are about 160 million miles away from Earth horned their way into the picture of the galaxies scattered across space and time at inconceivably farther distances, scientists noted. Hubble’s photo of a random patch of sky is part of a survey called Frontier Fields. The colourful image contains thousands of galaxies, including massive yellowish ellipticals and majestic blue spirals. Much smaller, fragmentary blue galaxies are sprinkled throughout the field. Asteroid trails that appear as curved or S-shaped streaks intruded into the picture. The trails look curved due to an observational effect called parallax. Using a different camera, pointing in a slightly different direction, Hubble photographed six so-called “parallel fields” at the same time it photographed the massive galaxy clusters.
Rather than leaving one long trail, the asteroids appear in multiple Hubble exposures that have been combined into one image, the US space agency said. Of the 20 total asteroid sightings for this field, seven are unique objects. Of these seven asteroids, only two were earlier identified. The others were too faint to be seen previously. As Hubble orbits around Earth, an asteroid will appear to move along an arc with respect to the vastly more distant background stars and galaxies.
All the asteroids were found manually, the majority by “blinking” consecutive exposures to capture apparent asteroid motion. Astronomers found a unique asteroid for every 10 to 20 hours of exposure time.