Specialists from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have captured and assembled 42 asteroids in the solar system into one image. They are all located between Mars and Jupiter.

A composite image of the largest objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has appeared on the network. Most of them are over 100 km in size. The two largest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, are about 940 and 520 km in diameter, respectively. A couple of the smallest objects – Urania and Ausonia – have a diameter of no more than 90 km.

While reconstructing the shapes of objects, scientists noticed that the observed asteroids are basically divided into two types in shape. Some of them are almost perfectly spherical, such as Hygea and Ceres. While others are distinguished by a peculiar, elongated shape, the most striking example is the asteroid Cleopatra. Its shape resembles a real gnawed dog bone.

All objects were captured by astronomers using a spectropolarimetric high-contrast instrument for studying exoplanets (SPHERE, Spectro-Polarimetric High-Contrast Exoplanet Research) on ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

The detailed images of these 42 objects are a step forward in the study of asteroids, scientists say. This, in the end, will give more data on how the solar system came into being and how life began on Earth.