Hundreds of Small Asteroids Discovered

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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Video imagery:

·       NASA, ESA, Pablo García Martín (UAM). Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).
·       Asteroid size infographic: Pablo García Martín (UAM), Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI).

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We fly through a grid of tiles with images of colorful spatial phenomena, including nebulae, galaxies, and planets. 
Logo, News from the Universe. 
A photograph of a large galaxy is overlaid at one end by a very fine curved linear trail with dark interruptions. Text, April 26, 2024, hundreds of small asteroids discovered. A collaboration between astronomers and citizen-science volunteers has discovered more than 1,000 new members of the solar system's asteroid belt. 
We focus progressively more closely on the portion of the galaxy image with the interrupted trail. 
Text, The discoveries were made by carefully combing through 37,000 archive images from the Hubble Space Telescope. 
Asteroids are moving through space, and sometimes "photobomb" more distant objects, appearing as curved trails in Hubble images. We move across to examine the full extent of the trail. 
A line graph appears with a y-axis labelled, number of objects, from 0 to 70 and an x-axis labelled, Size in kilometers, from 0 to 2.0. It is divided into four quadrants with progressively larger illustrations of asteroids above them. A line begins at around 15 near 0 on the x-axis, then rises steeply to peak around 70 near 0.5 kilometers on the x-axis before falling off steeply with larger sizes, with 15 around 1 kilometer in size and progressively fewer as the x-axis approaches 2 kilometers. Text, About 400 of these uncatalogued asteroids are less than 1 kilometer in size. The small asteroids are new clues in the ongoing investigation into how the asteroid belt formed and has changed over time. 
Rather than forming small, the new study suggests that large asteroids collided and broke apart, creating the population of small asteroids. 
This news was brought to you in part by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.