Picture of the Day: An Asteroid Moves Across Tadpole Nebula

tadpolenebula.jpgAbout 12,000 light years away, the Tadpole Nebula is forming new stars. some as young as a million years old ("infants in stellar terms," says NASA). In this infrared image, created by stitching together 25 different frames captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), shows, in a string of yellow dots just above the brightest part of the nebula, an asteroid in our own solar system passing by. The asteroid, named 1719 Jens, was discovered in 1950 and orbits the sun every 4.3 years in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Above where the asteroid is visible, a faint green line shows the path of a natural satellite orbiting above WISE.



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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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