Arecibo telescope provides warning of a near-Earth asteroid from the beyond.
In 2020, the renowned Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fully collapsed. Now, researchers studying its final observations present a significant new asteroid report and its a good one.
Scientists have produced the largest radar-based assessment on near-Earth asteroids ever published using data gathered by Arecibo between December 2017 and December 2019. The report contains thorough observations of 191 near-Earth asteroids, including close to 70 that are considered “potentially hazardous” — that is, big asteroids with orbits that bring them within 4.65 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) of Earth, or roughly 20 times the average distance between Earth and the moon.
Fortunately, none of these newly described asteroids pose an immediate threat to Earth; according to NASA, our planet is safe from deadly asteroid impacts for at least the next 100 years. These near-Earth objects are still closely watched by scientists, though, in case their trajectories change by chance due to another asteroid bump or some other natural phenomenon, putting them on a crash course with Earth.
With the gathered data, scientists can now more accurately gauge the forms, sizes, and spin periods of these asteroids, which are essential parameters for determining the possible threats that the asteroids may pose to our planet.
While this data was being gathered, a “planet killer” asteroid that was discovered hidden in the sun’s glare may one day strike Earth.
The asteroid, known as 2022 AP7, was able to go unnoticed for so long because of its orbital location between Venus and Earth. The asteroid is about 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile) wide, which is the largest potentially dangerous asteroid discovered in the past eight years, a “planet killer” since the impacts of its impact would be felt on several continents. But fortunately, not in this life time of our planet.
With that news, I will leave you once more with the wonderment of science and the mysteries of it.