It’s time to look for near-Earth asteroids in the direction of the Sun

(ORDO NEWS) — Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, published a note in the journal Science, which suggests that now is the time for the scientific community to pay close attention to near-Earth objects lying in the direction of the Sun.

In his work, he notes that the technology to search for and detect such objects – at least during the twilight hours – already exists.

As Sheppard points out, most space observation is done at night, when the sky is not blindingly bright. But as a result of this factor, scientists lost sight of those near-Earth objects whose orbits lie between the Earth and the Sun.

And this can lead to adverse consequences, since one or more of these space rocks may lie on a collision trajectory with the Earth.

Of course, scientists don’t completely ignore near-Earth objects seen in bright sunlight. Sheppard notes that many of these asteroids were recently discovered. But he believes that more research is needed to study such objects.

He points out that a research team recently discovered an asteroid whose orbit lies inside the orbit of Venus, as well as another asteroid that travels around the Sun along the shortest orbital path.

He also notes that new scientific instruments, such as the Zwicky Transient Facility, USA, and the 4-meter Blanco Telescope, located in Chile, have opportunities to study such near-Earth objects. The latest one even features a Dark Energy Camera that can be pointed closer to the Sun.

The number of near-Earth objects orbiting the Sun inside the Earth’s orbit should decrease, according to forecasts, but in reality it remains approximately constant.

To explain this amazing fact, it is necessary to find the source from which the replenishment of the number of near-Earth objects of this class comes, Sheppard believes.


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