Emily LakdawallaFeb 02, 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
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. NASA / ESA / D. Jewitt (UCLA)

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
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. NASA / ESA / D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Wow!!!

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