See that unbelievably tiny speck of light? That’s the Tesla Roadster and Starman, its steadfast mannequin driver, that SpaceX launched into our solar system about two weeks ago on Feb. 6.
Starman and the Roadster were so remote — about 2.1 million miles (3.5 million kilometers) away from Earth — that it was challenging to get a good shot. But like any decent paparazzi, scientists tracked their target and captured an incredible image on Feb. 18.
“Its apparent brightness is extremely low, 40 million times fainter than the Polaris star,” Gianluca Masi, an astrophysicist, founder and director of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, which helped capture the photo, told Live Science in an email.
The image was assembled when Masi and his colleague — Michael Schwartz, the founder and president of Tenagra Observatories, in southern Arizona — took the average of 10, 300-second exposures they got from a telescope at Tenagra Observatories Ltd., Masi wrote online.
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