Discovered a 'planet-eating' asteroid hidden by the brightness of the Sun
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An international team of astronomers has announced the discovery of a huge asteroid whose orbit intersects that of the Earth, creating a small possibility that it could produce a catastrophic collision in the distant future.
The asteroid, 1.5 kilometers wide, named >2022 AP7, was discovered in an area where it is particularly difficult to detect objects due to thebrightness of the Sun.
It was found using high-tech instruments on the Víctor M. Blanco telescope in Chile, originally developed to study matter
“The 2022 AP7 intersects with the orbit of Earth, making it apotentially dangerous asteroid, but it does not currently have a trajectory that would collide with Earth, now or in the future,” said lead author of the find, astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science.
The potential threat comes from the fact that, like any object in orbit, its trajectory will be slowly modified by innumerable gravitational forces.Prognoses are then difficult to make at longer ranges. term.
The US-funded research group NOIRLab, which operates multiple observatories, described The asteroid is called “the largest potentially dangerous object for the Earth that has been discovered in the last eight years”.
The improbable impact will be ;a devastating
It takes 2022 AP7 five years to go around the Sun in its current orbit, andits closest point to Earth remains several million kilometers away.
Although the risk is very small, a collision of an asteroid of that size ;or“it would have a devastating impact on life as we know it,” Sheppard says. He explains that the dust that would rise into the air would have a huge cooling effect, causing an “extinction event such as has not been seen on Earth in millions of years” .
None of the approximately 30,000 asteroids of all sizes that have been classified as “Near Earth Objects” (NEOs) threaten the earth for the next 100 years. ;os.
Hidden in the Sun's glare
According to Sheppard, there are “between 20 and 50 huge NEOs yet to be found,” but the most are in orbits located in the sun's glare.”
In preparation for the future discovery of a more threatening object, NASA conducted carried out a test mission at the end of September in which it collided with the A spaceship hit an asteroid, proving that it is possible to change its trajectory.
Another asteroid passed by. Monday 'near' Earth
The announcement of the discovery of the new asteroid has occurred one day after an asteroid classified as NEO, near-Earth objects, and as PHA, potentially dangerous, passed “close” -in astronomical terms. ;micos- from Earth: 2.3 million kilometers.
Known as 2022 RM4, this asteroid was first identified on September 12 and has a Its estimated diameter is between 330 and 740 meters, according to data from CNEOS, Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects, of the US space agency NASA.
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