Astronomers discover asteroid treasure trove in old Hubble Space Telescope data

A Hubble image taken on Dec. 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 trails of nearly 1,500 new asteroids hidden in data gathered by NASA’s most venerable space telescope.

In a new study, astronomers and a team of amateur scientists have worked together to comb 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 aim was to identify asteroids in old data from Hubble; signals that, in other studies, might have just been filtered out as noise.

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