(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers on Monday announced the discovery of a large asteroid whose orbit intersects Earth’s orbit, posing a small chance of a collision in the distant future.
Asteroid 2022 AP7 is 1.5 kilometers wide. It was discovered along with two other near-Earth asteroids using the Victor M. Blanco telescope.
2022 AP7 is crossing Earth’s orbit, making it a potentially dangerous asteroid. Although, according to calculations, neither now nor in the future it should not collide with the Earth
A possible threat comes from the fact that the trajectory of the asteroid will slowly change due to the many gravitational forces that affect it.
Therefore, it is quite difficult for scientists to make accurate long-term forecasts.
The newly discovered asteroid, according to the NOIRLab research team, is the largest object potentially hazardous to the Earth that has been discovered in the past eight years.
2022 AP7 will take five years to orbit the sun. The asteroid is located several million kilometers from Earth.
The risk of a collision is very small, but the researchers say that if an asteroid of this size crashes into the Earth, it will have a devastating effect on life as we know it.
The dust thrown into the air would have a strong cooling effect, triggering an “extinction event the like of which has not been seen on Earth for millions of years.”
The results of the study were published in the scientific journal The Astronomical Journal. The other two asteroids do not pose a danger to the Earth, but one of them is the closest known asteroid to the Sun.
About 30,000 asteroids of all sizes, including about 850 larger than a kilometer wide, have been cataloged by Near Earth Objects. None of them pose a threat to the Earth for the next 100 years.
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