Astronomers Found ‘Planet Killer’ Asteroid Possibly Risk to Earth
- Dark Energy Camera (DEC)
VIVA – Astronomers have discovered a giant asteroid lurking in the sun's rays that possibly meet Earth one day. The 0.9-mile (1.5-kilometer) wide asteroid is the largest potentially dangerous space rock ever seen in the last eight years and astronomers call it the 'planet killer' because its impact will be felt on multiple continents.
The asteroid 2022 AP7 has eluded detection for so long as it orbits in the region between Earth and Venus. To see the space rocks in this area, astronomers have to look toward the Sun and that is difficult because of the luminosity the Sun.
For example, flagship telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope never look toward the Sun because the star's brightness would fry their sensitive optics.
Because of that, Astronomers have only a limited understanding of the nature of asteroids lurking in this region, and sometimes surprises can occur.
In 2013, a much smaller asteroid, just 66 feet (20 m) wide, arrived from the Sun without warning. The asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in southeastern Russia, shattering windows in thousands of buildings.
Astronomer at the Earth and Planetary Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Scott S. Sheppard, said that only about 25 asteroids orbiting fully within Earth's orbit have been discovered to date due to the difficulty of observing near glare from the Sun.