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When astronomers use the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the deep sky, asteroids from our solar system can leave their marks on the captured pictures of far-away galaxies or nebulae. But rather than be annoyed at the imprinted trails in Hubble images, astronomers realised they could use them to find out more about the asteroids themselves.
To do this, a team of ESA astronomers and software engineers started the Hubble Asteroid Hunter citizen science project in June, enlisting the public to help them find asteroids observed by chance in Hubble archival images. Through this project, over 1900 volunteers have identified more than 300 000 asteroid trails in nearly 11 000 images in only 1.5 months, completing the project with swiftness and enthusiasm that exceeded the team's expectations.
Melina - Thévenot - Germany - Project - Volunteers
Astronomy-enthusiast Melina Thévenot from Germany was one of the project's keen volunteers. While analysing Hubble data, she found an asteroid trail on the foreground of a 2005 image of the Crab Nebula, one of the night sky's most famous objects.
Inspired by this impressive combination, Melina decided to process the original Hubble image combining views taken in blue, green and red filters, to create the stunning colour scene portrayed here. The faint trail of 2001 SE101, a main-belt asteroid discovered by the ground-based LINEAR survey in 2001, appears as a curved streak that crosses the image from bottom left to top right, near the nebula's center.
Crab - Nebula - Messier - M1 - Object
The Crab Nebula, also known as Messier 1 or M1, was the first object recorded by French astronomer Charles Messier in his...
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