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Emily LakdawallaFebruary 2, 2010

Spectacular Hubble view of the aftermath of an asteroid collision

This photo is going to be one of the iconic space images of 2010: Hubble has caught an astonishing view of something that's never before been observed, the aftermath of a collision between two asteroids in the main belt.

Hubble views the aftermath of an asteroid collision

NASA / ESA / D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Hubble views the aftermath of an asteroid collision
This astonishing photo, captured by Hubble's newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 on January 25 and 29, 2010, shows the comet-like tail trailing behind the zone in space where two asteroids apparently collided on or before January 6. Visit the Hubble site for the full story.

There is no doubt a great deal to be learned from the particular paths taken by the bits and pieces of asteroid debris. Sadly I don't have time to really do this story justice, so I will send you onward to the Hubble website for their usual detailed release and Nancy Atkinson at Universe Today and Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy to tell you more! I will, at least, post the full-scale version of the original Hubble image:

Hubble views the aftermath of an asteroid collision

NASA / ESA / D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Hubble views the aftermath of an asteroid collision
This astonishing photo, captured by Hubble's newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 on January 25 and 29, 2010, shows the comet-like tail trailing behind the zone in space where two asteroids apparently collided on or before January 6. Visit the Hubble site for the full story.

Wow!!!

Read more: Hubble Space Telescope, pretty pictures, asteroids

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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