Potentially dangerous and largest asteroid discovered in eight years
An international team of astronomers has discovered the largest and most potentially dangerous asteroid in eight years. The results are described in The Astronomical Journal.
The NOIRLab program used the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Victor Blanco four-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile to record three near-Earth asteroids. Discovering the objects was quite problematic because they are in a hard-to-observe orbit between Earth and Venus, and the bright sunlight interfered with the study.
The first body is 2022 AP7, 1.5 kilometers wide, whose orbit could someday encounter an asteroid with our planet. The other two objects, named 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH27, pose no danger to Earth. 2021 PH27 is of particular interest to scientists because it is the closest asteroid to the Sun.
In addition to calculating the potential danger from some cosmic bodies, observing asteroids is necessary to understand the distribution of small bodies in the solar system, as well as the influence of the Sun and gravity on their fragmentation.
In October 2022, a team of specialists from different countries noticed that the known near-Earth asteroid Ryugu has similar features to the rare Cl group of meteorites. Scientists suggest that Ryugu may be the parent body of these objects.