Bruce Murray Space Image Library
WISE's first near-Earth asteroid, 2010 AB78
Filed under pretty pictures, near-Earth asteroids, WISE
2010 AB78 is the first of what may be hundreds or even thousands of asteroids to be discovered by the Wide-Field Survey Explorer, or WISE. It is the red dot in the middle of this star field. It is roughly one kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter, and was about 158 million kilometers (98 million miles) away from Earth when it was discovered. The image shows three infrared wavelengths, with red representing the longest wavelength of 12 microns, and green and blue showing 4.6- and 3.4-micron light, respectively. The asteroid appears redder than the rest of the background stars because it is cooler and emits most of its light at longer infrared wavelengths. In visible light, this space rock is very faint, around magnitude, 22, so is difficult to see.
NASA / JPL
Original image data dated on or about January 12, 2010
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