December 7, 2022

Brighton Journal

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A ‘Planet Killer’ asteroid lurking in the sun’s glare – heading for Earth

A 'Planet Killer' asteroid lurking in the sun's glare - heading for Earth

enormous asteroid Moving towards Earth Orbit – but astronomers aren’t worried.

The rock is 1.1 to 2.3 km in diameter and named 2022 AP7, and was discovered between the orbits of Earth and Venus.

The study written in Astronomical Journal Conducted by the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, it said it was the largest asteroid the size of a deadly planet seen in eight years.

It was found by the 4-meter Blanco telescope in Chile.

2022 AP7 is one of three “fairly large” space rocks that could be hazardous, and it may be among the largest 5% of rocks ever discovered, according to astronomers.

“Any asteroid larger than 1 km in size is considered planet-killer,” explained Scott Sheppard, the study’s senior author, because it could push dust and pollutants into the atmosphere.

And they would likely stay there for a long time, blocking sunlight and potentially causing a “mass extinction event” not seen on Earth in millions of years, according to Sheppard.

But, while the idea of ​​an asteroid heading towards Earth might remind people of that Adam McKay’s wretched movie “Don’t Look For”, There’s a reason astronomers don’t sound the alarm.

It is unlikely to hit the Earth – only the Earth’s orbit. Our planet will be on the far side of the sun during its annual rotation when 2022 AP7 approaches it, which means there is no chance of a collision any time soon.

“We don’t know the 2022 AP7 orbit is accurate enough to say much about its risks for centuries from now,” he added.

in September, NASA’s Dart Mission To deter an asteroid was successful.

This could become a scheme to avoid any collision with the Earth, indicating that in the future we will be better protected against such risks – although 2022 AP7 is probably too big to be stopped in this way at the moment with just one arrow.

The director of the National Center for Near-Earth Object Information, Jay Tate, said: Watchman That Earth was a very small target.

“At the moment, however, the potential for impact is rather low. I wouldn’t say it is insignificant, but rather low.”

A television at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, captures the final images from the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

Jim Watson via Getty Images