Near-Earth asteroids we’ve never seen before lurk in the sun’s glow

(ORDO NEWS) — The glare from the Sun is the main reason why telescopes look away from the Earth, away from the center of the solar system. A new study shows that there is a lot to be found for telescopic surveys ready to look in a different direction.

In particular, recent surveys are detecting near-Earth objects or NEOs, including asteroids that we have never seen before. . When it comes to understanding the history of the solar system and the formation of the planets, finding and tracking these asteroids can be crucial.

Astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, DC, has reported some NEOs that are between the Earth and the Sun, and discoveries are just beginning.

“New telescopic surveys are challenging bright sunlight and looking for asteroids approaching the Sun at dusk,” Sheppard writes in a column in the latest scientific journal.

“These studies have found many previously undiscovered asteroids inside the Earth.”

The discoveries include the first asteroid with an orbit inside Venus (named “Ailo” chaxnim 2020 AV2) as well as the asteroid with the shortest orbital period currently known (named 2021 PH27).

Although simulations predicted that these asteroids must exist, now telescopes such as the Zwicky Transient Objective Camera in California and the National Science 4m Blanco Foundation ence Telescope in Chile with an attached dark energy camera (DECam) are starting to find them.

These asteroids are classified according to their position: we have Athiras (with orbits inside the Earth), Vathiras (with orbits inside Venus), and hypothetical Vulcanoids (with orbits inside Mercury).

From observations of craters on planets and moons, we know that the number of NEOs has remained stable over the past several billion years.

Given their dynamically unstable orbits (about 10 billion years) and unpredictable movements (caused by the impact of the Sun), it can be assumed that NEOs are somehow replenished.

“The movement of an asteroid depends on rotation, size, albedo and distance from the Sun,” Sheppard writes. “The smaller the asteroid and the more sunlight it absorbs, the greater its motion.”

These discoveries of asteroids should help us better understand their movement and how the number of NEOs manages to remain stable. for such long periods of time. Scientists believe that most NEOs are asteroids that have been forced out of the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.

However, Sheppard points out that stable internal reservoirs of NEOs may also exist, providing a constant influx of Atir and Watir. . They can power and replace asteroids that orbit the wider solar system, crash into a planet, or are destroyed by close contact with the Sun.

The smaller the asteroids, the more difficult it is to detect them. well. Scientists estimate that about 90 percent of the so-called planet-killing NEOs those that are 1 km (0.62 miles) or larger in diameter have already been found.

“The last few unknown NEOs with a diameter of 1 km likely have orbits close to the Sun, or high inclinations, which keep them out of the main NEO survey fields,” Sheppard writes.


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