You might also be as scared as us at the news of big asteroids that are coming near our planet. But you might like what we have to say today about such cosmic objects. More than 1,000 new asteroids were found within archived Hubble data from the last two decades, according to ScienceAlert.com.
The Hubble Space Telescope is easily one of the most powerful telescopes that humanity has. But leaving aside our fear of asteroids, these space rocks can serve as great study material for science. Astronomers can even learn a lot more about the Solar System by studying asteroids. The asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, for instance, is estimated to contain over a million asteroids. That’s a lot of potential homework for astronomers!
Eyes set on the Hubble Asteroid Hunter
The Hubble Asteroid Hunter launched roughly two years ago with the purpose of looking for new asteroids in Hubble data.
Over 37,000 composite images of Hubble were examined, and they were obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope as it was using the Advanced Camera for Surveys, as well as the Wide Field Camera 3. The asteroid trails appear as curved streaks.
Sandor Kruk from the Max Planck Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics, who’s also the lead author of the study, explained as ScienceAlert.com quotes:
Due to the orbit and motion of Hubble itself, the streaks appear curved in the images, which makes it difficult to classify asteroid trails – or rather it is difficult to tell a computer how to automatically detect them,
Therefore, we needed volunteers to do an initial classification, which we then used to train a machine-learning algorithm.
The researchers also found about 700 asteroids in the Hubble data that were known to astronomers already.
The new study was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.