NASA detected the largest and potentially dangerous “planet killer” asteroid in the last 8 years

The organization’s experts found a set of three asteroids. One turned out to be a possible threat to Earth. Due to their size they are called “planet killers”.

NASA recently detected an important group of objects located inside the orbits of Earth and Venus, and among them is the largest asteroid discovered in the last eight years, which is potentially dangerous for Earth.

This discovery was made by an international team of astronomers, using the Dark Energy Camera of the Cerro Tololo Observatory, in Chile. Specifically, they managed to detect three asteroids close to our planet that were hidden in the glare of the Sun.

Specifically, the specialists detected a trio of asteroids. One of them being 1.5 kilometers wide, called 2022 AP7, with an orbit that could one day put it in the path of Earth and the other two, 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH27, both of which have orbits that remain safe towards the inside our planet.

“So far we have found two large near-Earth asteroids that are about 1 kilometer in diameter, a size we call planet killers,” said Scott S. Sheppard, an astronomer in the Earth and Planets Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution for Science and Technology. author of the article presenting these latest findings.

The asteroid called 2021 PH27 is the one that aroused the greatest interest in astronomers and astrophysicists, since it is the closest to the sun, so during its orbit its surface heats up enough to the point of being able to melt lead.

“There are likely only a few NEAs (near-Earth asteroids) with similar sizes left to be found, and these large undiscovered asteroids probably have orbits that keep them inside the orbits of Earth and Venus most of the time.” “added the expert.

To date, only about 25 asteroids with orbits completely within Earth’s orbit have been discovered, as glare from the sun makes such observations very difficult. At the time of doing this work, astronomers have only two brief 10-minute windows per night to survey the area.

“Large areas of sky are required, because internal asteroids are rare, and deep imaging is needed, because the asteroids are faint and you are fighting the bright twilight sky near the sun, as well as the distorting effect of Earth’s atmosphere. “Sheppard explained to conclude.

source: AP