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Sdwingnut t1_j7klksr wrote


"...but the JWST's incredible sensitivity made it possible to see this roughly 100-meter object at a distance of more than 100 million kilometers [over 62 million miles."


rmorrin t1_j7lfojd wrote

That's actually just insane


Sdwingnut t1_j7lghwo wrote

Conversation on Earth:


"You see that soccer pitch over there?"


"The one right next to Mars. You can't see that?"


smallproton t1_j7lqrxc wrote

That's a fantastic comparison to make one realize how insane the distances and sensitivities are!

Thank you!!


Khespar t1_j7olof7 wrote

Its a microscope

For everything



[deleted] t1_j7mhivu wrote



vonvoltage t1_j7morak wrote

I think most people who haven't been in a basement playing video games chained to a radiator their whole lives would know what a soccer pitch is.


FirstConsul1805 t1_j7oomr4 wrote

It's not that far of a stretch for anyone unfamiliar with the sport to make the association of "pitch must be another term for field"


dependency_break t1_j7o5i4p wrote

I hadn't heard the term pitched used in that way but could be to do with what region im from


rmorrin t1_j7okz2a wrote

It's the sameish size as an American football field


ThisSubHasNoMods t1_j7mqc7o wrote

You sound like someone who was chained to a stadium seat and forced to learn the terminology.


vonvoltage t1_j7mqm0b wrote

Ah thanks, that's nice of you. No just had a life in the world and know about a few things, even those outside of my own interests.


Dog-Lips t1_j7n64nr wrote

A little sugar might help with the bitterness. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.


JohnyFive128 t1_j7mvqpp wrote

Is this your criteria to determine intelligence and "having a life"?

"Hey honey, I think little bobby doesn't go outside enough"

"Don't worry babe, he knows what a soccer pitch is, remember?"

"Oh! How dumb of me! Of course!"


[deleted] t1_j7mqdh0 wrote



vonvoltage t1_j7mr74q wrote

No problem friend. Was just making a joke with you anyway, so thanks for being a good sport.

Cricket and rugby are also generally played on what's called a pitch. All 3 are huge international sports even if less so in North America. Although rugby is pretty popular here.


[deleted] t1_j7mscpw wrote



vonvoltage t1_j7mssyw wrote

I don't. But I played a little growing up in Canada. The thing is these sports are massive all over the world. Like mammoth massive. Our little North American niche sports are tiny in comparison. Like a soccer pitch next to Mars.


grimtrigger86 t1_j7msc2r wrote

... I played soccer for the better part of 16 years and never heard it called a pitch before. It's something I'd expect a European to say, but they called it soccer instead of futbol or football, which is confusing.

That being said, I assumed they meant field.


legend11 t1_j7mub4c wrote

It's called football pitch over here. Football field doesn't sound quite as good.


grimtrigger86 t1_j7muv8h wrote

Assuming "over here" is somewhere in Europe. I mean, they called it soccer, which is an American term, but also used pitch... if they'd said football pitch, I'd have known which sport they were referring to. Just a odd choice of words I guess.


rmorrin t1_j7lixo7 wrote

That's basically what I was thinking like that's so far away


entered_bubble_50 t1_j7mavsb wrote

To be fair, they can't actually resolve it at this distance - it's just a dot.


the_fuego t1_j7mrtg8 wrote

It's not just a dot... It's a rock! The pioneers used to ride those babies for miles 🥹


saluksic t1_j7m1g3p wrote

And, like, maybe we *could* see a soccer pitch next to mars if it was glowing incandescently. But this is just a rocky asteroid, not particularly warm, caught on the near-vis IR camera. That's pretty dang cool


Ashamed-Web-3495 t1_j7m4b1f wrote

That soccer pitch with slight lighter red grass than the rest of the surface even!


unclepaprika t1_j7mzl4h wrote

What's that in AU? It's so useless using units i use to measure my morning commute, when we're talking space distances..


drfeelsgoood t1_j7n3qnh wrote

The earth is about 7918 miles wide, so just picture 7,830 earths next to each other. That’s how far away it is


CheechJuan t1_j7pm90d wrote

One astronomical unit is the distance from the sun to the Earth


slickhedstrong t1_j7l9j57 wrote

i hate these they're using an artist's rendering to represent a speck of light in these stories


SgtPepe t1_j7mgyo2 wrote

I'd like to see the actual image


-Badger2- t1_j7n40ex wrote

Imagine a screen of completely black pixels, and one of the pixels is imperceptibly brighter than the others.


SgtPepe t1_j7n5yav wrote

How can the telescope see clearer things millions of light years away but something inside our own solar system is blurry pixels?


Aethelric t1_j7n6i9w wrote

This is reductive, but think of a telescope like a zooming lens on a typical camera. When you zoom in on an object to get a clear shot, you need to set your focus to do so. Objects that are closer or farther than where you've set your focus will be progressively more blurry and harder to make out.

What's happened here is that JWST was interested in something at a completely different distance, but caught a blurry image of something much closer.


JohnDavidsBooty t1_j7o2rho wrote

because a star is very large and gives off its own light while an asteroid is very small and reflects a mere fraction of the light that reaches it


nybble41 t1_j7ocikg wrote

The actual paper includes an image of the sensor data.


JoeFTPgamerIOS t1_j7psctn wrote

That’s really cool thanks for sharing the link. I remember when the JWST was cooling there was a lot of discussion on the first pictures and it was rarely mentioned that it doesn’t take pictures. Everything shared is a rendering.


Tichrom t1_j7mtr73 wrote

It serves two purposes. It makes it more accessible. The average person would see the actual image from the telescope (a speck of light) and have no clue what they are looking at. This way, they get an idea of what is being talked about.

It's also sensationalism to try and drive funding up.


Bubbagumpredditor t1_j7kddf9 wrote

We REALLY need to spend more time and money mapping these things before we get dinosaured


StayYou61 t1_j7kfv5j wrote

My understanding is that we are trying to, but with the vastness of space and inability to look around the sun, it is a very difficult process.


VillhelmSupreme t1_j7l8qtu wrote

Why don’t we set up a relay system behind the sun then? /s


Cesum-Pec t1_j7l9ztg wrote

It was all explained in a 70s documentary about the first time we sent astronauts to the far side of the sun. There resides an alt earth where our doppelgangers read English from right to left. Everything is backwards there. So I guess any rogue asteroids over there will be absorbed by alt earth and we'll be safe here. It's sciency stuff. Might be too sophisticated for you to understand.


Novabella t1_j7lf4g9 wrote

I need context for this bit


Cesum-Pec t1_j7lg2wq wrote

In the 70s, one of the more popular TV shows was the TV movie of the week. You never knew what you'd get and they weren't big budget special effects masterpieces. It was a pretty bad story in retrospect, but as a little kid, I was fascinated by the thought that there could be stuff on the other side of the sun that we've never seen.

On alt earth, there is someone who looks just like you, lives your identical life, but slightly backwards. When our hero astronaut got stranded on akt earth, his twin from alt-earth was stranded here. The drama was the astronaut coming to the realization that he was not home and that wasn't his wife


Hairy_Al t1_j7lov2n wrote


Cesum-Pec t1_j7lv6eq wrote

Well done. My 50 yo memories aren't perfect but wasn't that far off


roominating237 t1_j7mrxju wrote

Yup. I remember seeing this on TV when I was a youngin'. Astronaut thought his friend was driving on the wrong side of the road, for starters.


EvilWayne t1_j7lkfcg wrote

I think this is The Stranger. I vaguely recall it, but the wikipedia entry doesn't exactly line up.


Hairy_Al t1_j7lok7a wrote

Definitely not that. I remember the film we're talking about. Little things like the light switch being on the opposite side of the door as silly stuff like that. Can't remember much else about it

Edit:found it


EvilWayne t1_j7m9m2j wrote

Wow, I never heard of this film and I'm a big fan of horrible and cheesy scifi.

I must now see this movie.


bigpeechtea t1_j7mytb6 wrote

Lmao and here I am thinking they’re talking about that other movie Another Earth that came out in 2011 to… not much of a reaction lol


ExplosiveMachine t1_j7mzkqj wrote

> The drama was the astronaut coming to the realization that he was not home and that wasn't his wife

later summarised in a song by Talking Heads.


JohnDavidsBooty t1_j7o2wee wrote

I feel like this is basically a scifi version of The Irony of Fate


nzed35 t1_j7le730 wrote

We just look at night when the sun is asleep


Bubbagumpredditor t1_j7kgu48 wrote

Yeah, but we're doing a half assed job of it cause it costs money and there is no immediate bprofit


Crontab t1_j7lt1pz wrote

Telescope time is Uber precious, and I'm guessing it's easier for you proposal to get approved if you're not essentially shooting in the dark with your time.


danielravennest t1_j7mbh4v wrote

We use survey telescopes to look for asteroids. Typically they have been much smaller than the research telescopes. This is about to change with the Rubin Observatory which has an 8 meter mirror, putting into the research size range.

This telescope has a 3200 megapixel camera, and a wide field of view. It will survey the sky frequently, looking for anything that changes (moving asteroids and comets, variable stars, planetary transits, etc.)


SheeEttin t1_j7mz9id wrote

Also, there's the problem of asteroids not emitting anything, making them very hard to see against empty space. They have to reflect something else to be visible to us.


runnbl3 t1_j7mg66c wrote

Wouldn’t it be much easier to build a death laser?


MayOverexplain t1_j7ky284 wrote

I mean, this size is more on the same scale as the meteor from the Tunguska event and would “just” blast a city in the worst of luck, not an extinction event. I do get what you’re saying though.


WalkingTurtleMan t1_j7mrww3 wrote

This object was about 200 meters wide. The Dino-killer (does it have an official name?) was about 6 miles across and roughly the same size as Mount Everest.


Bubbagumpredditor t1_j7pa2xc wrote

I mean, yeah. But this things big brother is out there somewhere, I'd like to know where it is before it lands in the Pacific at a berjillion miles an hour.


Toebean_Farmer t1_j7m5e36 wrote

Then we’ll start cataloging the compositions of each, and soon we’ll have a whole database full asteroids just ready for the mining!


9Athelas7 t1_j7mh6lz wrote

Iam pretty sure that there is far greater probability that we will destroy ourselves


[deleted] t1_j7n5faq wrote

The Chicxulub impactor was about 6 miles across (10k). This rock is nowhere near that size and is located in the asteroid belt rather than the outer reaches of the solar system where, to my understanding, impactors generally originate.


T351A t1_j7mmqas wrote

The good news is the larger they are the easier they are to spot. The bad news is, it doesn't take much and the larger ones would be hard to stop


rennbrig t1_j7p738o wrote

I will now be adding “get dinosaured” into my vocabulary.


neuromorph t1_j7n27sh wrote

And then what? We can barely launch people on space and you want to move an asteroid?


phoenixmusicman t1_j7rvgh8 wrote

Considering that it's 100 million km away I think we're fine


Bubbagumpredditor t1_j7s3mry wrote

Yes, because there is only one small asteroid in the solar system, no need to look for others.


slickhedstrong t1_j7l9t1e wrote

don't worry about it. dinosaurs only went extinct a million years after their rock hit.

we don't even have 10% of that left


[deleted] t1_j7n76q7 wrote



slickhedstrong t1_j7nd6od wrote

we only have like 250 years of coal left. we are hitting critical mass. we're not solving existential problems.

if we're here for 20,000 times long than we've been keeping historical record, that would be a miracle.


Shervi t1_j7mzi7g wrote

Why don‘t you educate yourself before you share your ignorant opinion?

First: 30% of earth is land and only 45% is inhabited. So not even 15% Second: Not every asteroid hits earth Third: We have the moon Fourth: There is something called atmosphere Fifth: How are you so entitled ? Those are the top scientists on earth and see get most of them. You are just scared blindly. You REALLY need it. Then go do it. 6: What would it even change or matter ?

Please read books people. Sorry that I snapped but this shit is making me mad.


WaitForItTheMongols t1_j7n1g5l wrote

Sorry friend but you seem to be misinformed. Please reduce your level of vitriol, especially given that your facts aren't quite right.

The extinction caused by an impacting meteorite is not related to directly getting hit. The biggest issue is that it kicks up so much dust that the atmosphere can lose its transparency. When less sunlight reaches the ground, plants can't thrive, and then we have a food crisis. Doesn't matter where it hits, everyone is affected. If it hits ocean, then we have tsunamis that destroy multiple coastal cities all at once.

Of course not every asteroid hits earth, but we don't know which ones are headed our way (or, more accurately, which ones have orbits which, factoring in uncertainty, may result in a conjunction with the orbit of the earth) until we find them and track them.

Having the moon is nice, but the moon isn't a magic vacuum cleaner. Asteroids have every capability of coming down. One killed the dinosaurs, one caused the Tunguska event, and one was in Chelyabinsk just a decade ago. Clearly the moon isn't sufficient to protect us. It orbits around so it only has an effect on one side of earth at a time.

The atmosphere is a joke compared to an extinction-level meteorite. The velocity is high enough to not be sufficiently slowed to a safe level, and the object's mass is sufficient to maintain integrity despite aerothermal ablation.

How would we know if we saw most of the asteroids? We don't know which ones we're missing because... we're missing them. And what makes you think that the top scientists are choosing asteroid-hunting as their science of choice? Why aren't the top scientists biologists, geologists, chemists, or anything else? How many organizations can you name which have a chief purpose of asteroid hunting?

What would it change? If we can detect asteroids early enough, then we can do something about them and prevent them from impacting us. That was the whole point of the DART mission last year. We took an asteroid that wasn't coming toward us, and deflected it into a different path, which was still not coming toward us. But it proved that we have the active, current, present technology to deflect an asteroid, presuming we can send a spacecraft to it soon enough. But we can only do that if we detect the asteroid and have enough time to deflect it onto a new course.

Please, chill a bit. This type of hostility won't win anyone over to your side. Have a nice day.


Bubbagumpredditor t1_j7p9pb3 wrote

>Why don‘t you educate yourself before you share your ignorant opinion? >

Hahaha. Let's break down your comment.

>First: 30% of earth is land and only 45% is inhabited. So not even 15%

So you think an asteroid impact is only bad if it lands on a city? More importantly you think it would only be bad if it hit land?

>Second: Not every asteroid hits earth

Really? I thought every single one hit us ever time. /S

>Third: We have the moon

Yes. Yes we do. And I have a Prius.

>Fourth: There is something called atmosphere

100 miles of air would stop an asteroid? Whuhu we're all saved! But how do you explain the dinosaurs and that iridium layer? Oh and all those giant craters around?

>Fifth: How are you so entitled ? Those are the top scientists on earth and see get most of them. You are just scared blindly. You REALLY need it. Then go do it.

I am assuming English is not your first language? Either way this is kinda incoherent.

>6: What would it even change or matter ?

See, this is an actual valid point. > >Please read books people.

Yeah. WE'RE the ones who need to educate ourselves, not you. Sure thing sparky.

>Sorry that I snapped but this shit is making me mad.

You're ranting because I think we don't spend enough resources tracking potentially human extinction causing objects? Is that you Dr. Moriarty?


ActualMis t1_j7lf8kl wrote

Maybe now we can finally find Russell's teapot.


Superman246o1 t1_j7mr5qh wrote

My faith will be vindicated! Vindicated, I tell you!


Double_Distribution8 t1_j7mt0hs wrote

If that teapot is ever found I can't even imagine the consequences for science, logic, religion, and philosophy. That would literally mean that unicorns and samsquanches live in black holes (which is likely why we haven't seen them lately).


[deleted] t1_j7n4mrc wrote

Hell, I would say there is a greater than 0 chance that humans have already put a teapot in orbit. That team certainly wouldn't announce what they've done to the press, or their bosses at NASA. After all, there is already a car out there thanks to Musk's whimsy.


jackduloz t1_j7mfhz6 wrote

Wouldn’t the small bits that collided with it early on technically be the smallest objects it has “found”?


Riegel_Haribo t1_j7lc8h3 wrote

The telescope doesn't find asteroids. People do.

There's observatories that specifically monitor for small bodies. JWST takes science observations that have been designed long before.


MrMunchkin t1_j7ld0nr wrote

It's both. JWST produces imaging data without any intervention by a human. Generally, that data is modeled by a human, but there's also a huge amount of these findings that are discovered by an algorithm, and have little to no human interaction to find.


axialintellectual t1_j7mjsi4 wrote

JWST doesn't. In this case, it's arguable (they picked it up on calibration data, which are taken regularly) that it sort of did, but given Webb's limited lifetime and extreme pressure on observing time, it's essentially always being directed to look at something, calibrating, or changing its orientation. It's not an automated survey telescope!


MrMunchkin t1_j7qnst8 wrote

That's just not true. Because time is limited, they use JWST to point at a sector, and then use it to capture hundreds of composite images. Those images are processed by humans using algorithms, and in a lot of cases machine learning.

I think you're coming from the standpoint of a telescope on Earth, which has an extremely narrow view of space. With JWST, the images it takes are truly, truly massive and produce hundreds of gigabytes of data, which can be used to produce images.


axialintellectual t1_j7qpecg wrote

That does not - at all - resemble the work my colleagues and I are doing with JWST data. MIRI MRS has a FoV of 6.6'' x 7.7''; that's really quite large but it's not gigantic by any means (the size of the detector is impressive, but that's because this is an IFU). Also, I haven't seen particularly unusual amounts of machine learning in any of the data processing papers so far. Could you clarify what you're talking about here?


MrMunchkin t1_j7rb14a wrote

Yikes, there's too much to unpack here but I think what you're referencing is the images that are created from the archive. Are you familiar with the 3 stages of the pipeline?

Remember too, there are 10 detectors in the JWST, and the limit in the SSR is only 65GB, so much of the processing is done on board to reduce data excess. Tons more info can be found here:

More info on the data pipeline can be found here:,%28slope%29%20images.%20Stage%202%20calibrates%20the%20slope%20images.

Also keep in mind JWST does thousands of exposures using many of the instruments. That data is accumulated in the SSR and is streamed every 12 hours or so to earth.


axialintellectual t1_j7rmtl1 wrote

> there's too much to unpack here

Well, no, there really isn't. You say Webb produces data 'without intervention by a human', and 'a huge amount of findings [are] produced by an algorithm'. That's a really weird way of putting it, because the vast majority of Webb time is obtained by individual projects designed to look at specific things, with dedicated analysis plans. Of course there's a nonneglible amount of bycatch, so to speak - but that's not what I read in your comment.


theangryintern t1_j7m7cr9 wrote

So is it "Washington Monument" sized or "Colosseum in Rome" sized because those are two very different things?


Decronym t1_j7ocpag wrote

Acronyms, initialisms, abbreviations, contractions, and other phrases which expand to something larger, that I've seen in this thread:

|Fewer Letters|More Letters| |-------|---------|---| |C3|Characteristic Energy above that required for escape| |F1|Rocketdyne-developed rocket engine used for Saturn V| | |SpaceX Falcon 1 (obsolete medium-lift vehicle)| |JWST|James Webb infra-red Space Telescope|

^(3 acronyms in this thread; )^(the most compressed thread commented on today)^( has 10 acronyms.)
^([Thread #8527 for this sub, first seen 8th Feb 2023, 06:10]) ^[FAQ] ^([Full list]) ^[Contact] ^([Source code])


NimusNix t1_j7mx97y wrote

By accident? Isn't that just called discovery when your purpose is to observe?


TheFAPnetwork t1_j7n1zcd wrote

By accident as in it was probably conducting other research when the asteroid came into view.