Space intruder: an asteroid ‘sneaks’ into a cosmic Hubble image

The Hubble image of  the galaxy UGC 7983  reveals an asteroid  visible as four light rays separated by small gaps.


An image packed with large cosmic objects taken by the Hubble Space Telescope , presided over by the vague shape of the small galaxy UGC 7983 , also hides an astronomical interloper.

A smaller asteroid , a few kilometers in diameter , can be seen in the upper left of the image 

Why did the asteroid ‘snuck’ in?

The asteroid ‘s trail is visible as four streaks of light separated by small gaps. These streaks of light represent the four separate exposures that were combined to create this image, with the small gaps between each observation being necessary to change the filters inside Hubble ‘s Advanced Camera for Surveys .

The capture of an asteroid was a lucky side effect of a larger effort to observe all known galaxies near the Milky Way, the ESA reports.

The Hubble Space Telescope ‘s observation of UGC 7983 is part of the “All Known Nearby Galaxies” campaign to accurately observe all nearby galaxies within 10 megaparsecs (about 3,260 light-years) of the Milky Way. This observing campaign covers 153 galaxies and is being observed by the Hubble Space Telescope from 2019 to 2021. According to ESA, observations of nearby galaxies, which can be described as neighboring the Milky Way, will help astronomers determine the types of stars in different galaxies and map the local structure of the universe.

UGC 7983 lies about 30 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Virgo, and is a dwarf irregular galaxy, a type thought to be similar to the earliest galaxies in the Universe.

(With information from Europa Press)