archiv~1.txt: SETI A MOTE IN HUBBLE'S EYE (STScI-PRC99-08 Heritage)

SETI A MOTE IN HUBBLE'S EYE (STScI-PRC99-08 Heritage)

Larry Klaes ( lklaes@bbn.com )
Fri, 05 Mar 1999 08:20:40 -0500

>Date: Thu, 04 Mar 1999 08:54:19 -0500
>From: Cheryl Gundy <gundy@stsci.edu>
>X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.07 [en] (WinNT; I)
>To: pio@stsci.edu
>Subject: A MOTE IN HUBBLE'S EYE (STScI-PRC99-08 Heritage)
>Sender: owner-pio@stsci.edu
>
>EMBARGOED UNTIL: 12 noon (EST) March 4, 1999
>
>PHOTO NO.: STScI-PRC99-08
>
>
>A MOTE IN HUBBLE'S EYE
>
>On April 6, 1994 NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was performing a
>detailed study of the Sun's nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri,
>using the Fine Guidance Sensors to search for small deviations in
>the position of Proxima Centauri that could reveal the presence of
>an unseen planetary companion. Rather than sit idle while this
>study went on, the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) was
>activated using the observing strategy set out in a program initiated by
>Dr. Ed Groth (Princeton University) designed to make use of this
>otherwise wasted time. The image captured by this WFPC2 parallel
>observation is a typical Milky Way star field in the constellation
>Centaurus. Such images can be used to study the evolution of stars that
>make up our galaxy.
>
>Most of the stars in this image lie near the center of our galaxy
>some 25,000 light-years distant. But one object, the blue curved
>streak, is something much closer. An uncatalogued, mile-wide bit of
>rocky debris orbiting the Sun only light-minutes away strayed into
>WFPC2's field while the image was being exposed. This and about a
>hundred other interlopers have been found by Jet Propulsion Laboratory
>astronomers Dr. Robin Evans, Dr. Karl Stapelfeldt, and collaborators,
>who have systematically searched the HST archive for these nearby
>objects. Their analysis indicates this asteroid's orbit could cross
>Mars' path. Seen briefly by HST, these asteroids are too small and
>faint to track from the ground long enough for precise orbits to be
>determined. They are destined to return to their unseen wanderings for
>hundreds or thousands of years until once again, by chance, they may
>flicker across the view of some watchful eye peering off into the depths
>of space.
>
>Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)
>
>NOTE TO EDITORS: Image files and photo caption are available on the
>Internet at:
>http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/08 or via links in
>http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/latest.html and
>http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pictures.html
>
>Higher resolution digital versions of (300 dpi JPEG and TIFF) of the
>release photo are available at:
>http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/08/extra-photos.html
>
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