Best Photobomb Ever: Hubble telescope was trying to take a picture of distant galaxies, but asteroids kept getting in the way

Best photobomb ever!

Hubble telescope was trying to take a picture of distant galaxies, but asteroids kept getting in the way.

Some of our solar system’s asteroids have photobombed deep images of the universe taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. These asteroids reside, on average, only about 160 million miles from Earth. Yet they’ve horned their way into this picture of thousands of galaxies scattered across space and time at inconceivably farther distances.

Hubble Sees Nearby Asteroids Photobombing Distant Galaxies
Hubble Sees Nearby Asteroids Photobombing Distant Galaxies. via Space.com

This Hubble photo of a random patch of sky is part of a survey called Frontier Fields. The colorful image contains thousands of galaxies, including massive yellowish ellipticals and majestic blue spirals. Much smaller, fragmentary blue galaxies are sprinkled throughout the field. The reddest objects are most likely the farthest galaxies, whose light has been stretched into the red part of the spectrum by the expansion of space.

Hubble Sees Nearby Asteroids Photobombing Distant Galaxies
Galaxy cluster Abell 370 contains several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. It is located approximately 4 billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. Of the 22 total asteroid sightings for this field, five are unique objects. These asteroids are so faint that they were not previously identified. Credits: NASA, ESA, and STScI. via Space.com

Asteroid trails appear as curved or S-shaped streaks. Asteroids appear in multiple Hubble exposures that have been combined into one image. 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.

Hubble Sees Nearby Asteroids Photobombing Distant Galaxies
The seven asteroids pictured by Hubble telescope. via Hubblesite

The trails look curved due to an observational effect called parallax. 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.

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