A group of astronomers recently discovered three never-before-seen elements asteroids Large space rocks – close to Earth in a cosmic sense. One of them has an orbit that could bring it into the course of our planet sometime in the future, according to reports CNN.
So far we’ve found two large asteroids near Earth that are about one kilometer in diameter, a size we call planet killers, says research leader Scott Sheppard.
The results are displayed in Astronomical Journal.
Collisions with asteroids have previously led to major catastrophes on Earth, and it is widely believed that such an event They wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
An asteroid of the size of the newly discovered one “would have a devastating impact on life as we know it,” Sheppard says.
After a possible impact, dust and pollutants will fill the Earth’s atmosphere for years. This prevents sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and results in the cooling of the planet, which becomes uninhabitable for a number of species.
It would be a mass extinction event of the kind that the Earth has not experienced for several million years, says the researcher.
In recent years, astronomers have made a lot of effort to detect such threats to our existence – but the three “new” space rocks have been hard to see, because they lie in the sun’s line of sight and are therefore hidden by sunlight.
I don’t know enough
The asteroid, named 2022 AP7, has a diameter of 1.5 kilometers. Its orbit around the sun intersects with the orbit of the Earth, but at present this only happens when the Earth is on the other side of the Sun.
Thus there is no immediate danger, and the asteroid takes five years to orbit the sun, unlike the Earth. But the researchers caution that over time the pattern will gradually shift, with the two movements becoming more and more synchronized.
Currently, astronomers don’t know enough about the asteroid’s orbit to be able to accurately predict how big a threat it will pose in the future.
– Until then, he’ll stay off the ground, assures Sheppard.
The researchers call their research the “Twilight Study” – making it easier to spot asteroids that have been hidden by the sun’s rays. This means they only have a ten-minute window each day to sweep across the area in question using their telescopes, which aim toward the horizon, where the atmosphere is thick and hard to see.
Researchers helped by ‘super camera’ dark energy camera, which was installed on a four-meter telescope in Chile. The camera has a particularly wide angle, thus it can scan a larger area than before.
They expect to find more planet-killing asteroids in the coming years. Scientists believe that there are about 1,000 near-Earth objects more than one kilometer in diameter, of which approx. 95 percent are detected.
The other two newly discovered asteroids, 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH27, pose a much lower risk to Earth than 2022 AP7 because their orbits are less in sync with Earth’s.
An asteroid or comet is classified as near-Earth if it is less than 48.3 million km from us. Currently, scientists do not know which object is in a direct collision course with Earth, but there are more than 27,000 recorded objects near Earth.
For comparison, the Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of 384,400 km, while the Sun is between 147 million and 152 million km away.
As part of efforts to protect the planet from things that could pose a threat, in September NASA conducted the much-discussed Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), in which they intentionally Point a space probe at an asteroid to change direction. The experiment was successful.
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