December 4, 2022

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Discover a large space rock that could pose a threat to Earth in the future

Discover a large space rock that could pose a threat to Earth in the future

With a size of about 1.5 kilometers, it is the largest potentially dangerous asteroid discovered in the past eight years.

The space rock has been dubbed 2022 AP7. Astronomers discovered the asteroid using dark energy camera (DECam), installed on The Victor M Blanco telescope is 4 meters long in Chile.

Special
It’s a very special find, because the 2022 AP7 is a big tad; With an estimated diameter of about 1.5 kilometers, it is the largest potentially dangerous asteroid (see box) discovered in the past eight years.

potentially dangerous
2022 AP7 is the so-called closest Earth. This term refers to asteroids (or comets) venturing close to Earth. When a space rock is greater than 140 meters in size and has an orbit that actually intersects with Earth’s, it is automatically classified as a “Potentially Hazardous Object”. Although that sounds pretty scary, it certainly doesn’t mean that a space rock or comet will actually be on a collision course with Earth and we even know we have nothing to fear from the more dangerous space rocks of the coming centuries. The AP7’s 1.5-kilometre 2022 rocket also has an orbit that crosses Earth’s orbit, and is therefore classified as “Potentially Hazardous”. But this does not mean that the stone is doomed to be crushed into the ground. The word “potential hazard” simply indicates that a space rock may become a threat to Earth in the future. By closely observing such potentially dangerous space rocks and getting a more accurate picture of their orbit, astronomers are then trying to better predict when such space rocks will approach Earth and whether they could actually pose a threat to our planet. We often see that based on this follow-up research, it can soon be ruled out that something potentially dangerous will become really dangerous for at least the next century(s).

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hard to understand
The fact that 2022 AP7 is located in the inner regions of the solar system – that is, near Earth – made it difficult to detect. The glare of the sun obstructs the road tremendously. In the search for near-Earth objects, astronomers consciously choose to focus their gaze on the universe at dusk. But even then, it is not a race, because sunlight is still a somewhat unpleasant factor, and they are forced to observe near the horizon, and therefore also suffer from the thick terrestrial atmosphere that makes observing difficult. The fact that it is now possible to monitor 2022 AP7 is certainly due in large part to the enormous sensitivity of DECam. Not only can a large part of the universe be scanned with a camera, but it is also possible to spot very faint objects.

Two more asteroids
In addition to 2022 AP7, astronomers also presented the discovery of two near-Earth objects: 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH27. Both asteroids are not potentially dangerous objects; Their orbits stay strictly within the Earth’s orbit. By the way, this is also something special; So far, only 25 space rocks are known to us that never move outside Earth’s orbit.

hot
The 2021 PH27 deserves some extra attention. For now, the space rock will fall into the books like the asteroid closest to the sun. Those flights beyond our parent star do not leave space cold; The surface temperature of the asteroid would rise enough due to its proximity to the Sun to melt lead (with a melting point of 327.5 °C).

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future discoveries
It seems clear that there is still more to discover in the heart of our solar system. But whether there are still many large space rocks – such as 2022 AP7 waiting to be discovered – is questionable. Researcher Scott S. “So far we have found two large near-Earth asteroids that are about one kilometer in size (…) Time within orbits. I love Earth and Venus.”

In the meantime, the hunt for those undiscovered asteroids, of course, continues. This endeavor is not only important with the goal of protecting our planet, but it can also contribute to a better understanding of the distribution of small celestial bodies in our solar system. This, in turn, could provide more information about how asteroids travel through the interior of our solar system and how interactions with the Sun’s gravity and heat contribute to the disintegration of space rocks. “This is a unique opportunity to better understand the types of objects found within the inner solar system,” Sheppard said.