A striking image has been captured of our planet by an asteroid-circling spacecraft. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft of NASA captured the image days prior to entering the orbit on New Year’s Eve around the asteroid Bennu. The small asteroid—hardly 500 m (one-third of a mile) across—emerges as a huge bright spot in the long-exposure image released recently. Around 110 million kilometers (70 million miles) away, our planet emerges as a white spot, with the moon even more smaller spot but still evidently noticeable.
The mission website stated, “In spite of the distance of the spacecraft from our planet, Earth as well as Moon is noticeable in the lower left owing to the long exposure time utilized for this picture (5 sec).” When it was captured, the range of the spacecraft from Bennu was merely around 43 km (27 miles), thus the asteroid emerged highly overexposed in the image’s upper right. Also, the constellation Hydra’s head is noticeable in the lower right section of the picture.
Osiris-Rex is the foremost probe to orbit such a tiny celestial entity and from such a close distance—about 1,600 m (a mile) out. Osiris-Rex, in the coming year, will try to collect some specimens from the carbon-rich asteroid for bringing back to Earth in 2023.
Likewise, the Hubble telescope has sent back one more stunning image of the cosmos. In the latest composite picture composed up of several individual images, Hubble displays the close by Triangulum galaxy in far-fetched detail. And yes, the final picture is so massive that one would never wish to hang around for it to upload on a web page.
To develop the picture, 54 individual pictures of the galaxy were snapped by Hubble. Those shots, summing a startling 665 million pixels, were cautiously lined up to make a single picture that weighs in at more than 1.5 GB.