In the main asteroid belt, astronomers accidentally discovered an unknown 200-meter object

(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb Space Telescope observed the smallest object in space – a previously unknown asteroid the size of the Roman Colosseum.

A team of European astronomers have discovered a space rock 100 to 200 meters long, located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This belt contains most of the asteroids in the solar system.

The main asteroid belt is in close proximity to the plane of the ecliptic, or the same plane that includes the Earth‘s orbit around the Sun.

The asteroid may be one of the smallest ever discovered in the main belt.

Such small, dark space objects are incredibly difficult to detect, but astronomers can now use the James Webb telescope to search for other asteroids of this size.

Further observations will help astronomers learn more about the asteroid in the future and confirm that it is indeed a previously unknown object.

The asteroid was discovered by accident when a research team focused the telescope’s mid-infrared instrument, or MIRI, on the main belt asteroid (10920) 1998 BC1, originally discovered in 1998.

“We quite unexpectedly discovered a small asteroid in the MIRI public calibration observations,” said astronomer Thomas Müller from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (Germany).

Asteroids are remnants from the formation of the solar system, and astronomers have located over 1.1 million of them.

Many asteroids are still unknown, and the discovery of astronomers indicates that a powerful infrared telescope is able to detect many more unknown small rocky objects.


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