Astronomers find asteroid treasure in old Hubble Space Telescope data

A Hubble image taken on December 5, 2005 of the main-belt asteroid 2001 SE101 passing in front of the Crab Nebula. (Image credit: © NASA/ESA HST, Image processing: Melina Thévenot)

Astronomers have revealed the tracks of nearly 1,500 new asteroids hidden in data collected by NASA’s most venerable space telescope.

In a new study, astronomers and a team of amateur scientists worked together to sift through archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The project began on International Asteroid Day in 2019, when a team of astronomers launched the “Hubble Asteroid Hunter” project on Zooniverse, a popular platform for crowdsourcing science. The project’s goal was to identify asteroids in old Hubble data; signals that in other studies might have been simply filtered out as noise.

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