Nasa’s James Webb Telescope has discovered an asteroid around the same size as the world famous Colosseum in Rome. According to Natgeokids, the Colosseum is 189m long, 156m wide and 50m high - which is roughly the height of a 12 storey building.
“We — completely unexpectedly — detected a small asteroid in publicly available MIRI calibration observations,’ explained Thomas Müller, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.
“The measurements are some of the first MIRI measurements targeting the ecliptic plane and our work suggests that many new objects will be detected with this instrument.”
The asteroid that currently has no name is the first sub-kilometr size object ever found in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. It was spotted around 62 million miles away from the telescope.
The James Webb telescope was launched on Christmas Day in 2021. It is the largest optical telescope in space, it is equipped with high-resolution and high-sensitivity instruments, allowing it to view objects too old, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope.
It’s predicted there are around 1.1 million objects in the Asteroid Belt, but astronomers only know around 4,000 of them. It’s understood small objects could occur within the Asteroid Belt but they have not been observed, until now.