Genius way to look for HIDDEN planet-killer asteroids around Earth found, but there is a horrific problem too

    Scientists have deployed the amazing twilight telescopes to find killer asteroids that can destroy Earth and which have remained hidden so far.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Aug 04 2022, 16:11 IST
    AMAZING image of Earendel star captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope
    James Webb Space Telescope
    1/5 (NASA)
    2/5 The image was tweeted on August 2 by a group of astronomers who post images from the James Webb Space Telescope through the Cosmic Spring JWST Twitter account. The image was captioned, “We're excited to share the first JWST image of Earendel, the most distant star known in our universe, lensed and magnified by a massive galaxy cluster. It was observed Saturday by JWST program 2282”. (AP)
    Earendel - the most distant star in the Universe ever seen
    3/5 The Earendel star was discovered earlier this year by the old Hubble Space Telescope. Although it managed to capture the star, the image was not as clear as the one taken by James Webb Telescope. (NASA)
    4/5 In comparison, its successor, James Webb Space Telescope captured the image which showed the faint red glow of the Earendel star and the starry trail on which it lies. The star is seen as a tiny red speck at the lower right side of the image. (NASA)
    James Webb Space Telescope
    5/5 To capture these distant objects in detail, astronomers use Gravitational lensing. Celestial objects such as stars and galaxies bend light emitting from the objects behind them due to its gravitational fields. When this light from farther stars passes through these massive celestial objects, it acts like it is passing through the lens of a telescope and becomes magnified. This enables astronomers to capture them in extreme detail. (NASA)
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    New asteroid spotting method is going to reveal unseen space rocks around the Earth. (AP)

    Spotting planet killer asteroids in time will be the difference between saving the Earth or letting it be destroyed. However, there are more asteroids in the solar system itself that we do not know about. According to NASA, space agencies across the world are currently tracking 29,000 asteroids among possible millions of space rocks floating around. This happens mainly because the Sun's glare makes it impossible to observe any asteroid during the daytime. So, there is a high probability that one day an asteroid will get too close to the Earth and we will not be able to do anything about it. To solve this challenge, scientists have found a unique solution — twilight telescopes.

    In a new study published in the Science journal, researchers have claimed that twilight telescope surveys could be the key to spotting unseen asteroids. "We're doing a full-fledged survey looking for anything that moves around the orbit of Venus, which is somewhere we haven't really surveyed very deep in the past with anything other than small one meter telescopes. It's pretty hard to do and generally the larger telescopes don't have a very big field of view so you can't cover a lot of sky,” Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science told

    Twilight telescopes can help scientists in spotting unseen asteroids

    Twilight telescopes are not a special telescope. It is simply a new method of surveying the sky 10-15 minutes before sunrise and 10-15 minutes after sunset to avoid the solar glare. While the sunlight still causes problems in observing the image, it is not impossible like during the daytime. Sheppard himself has been running a twilight survey using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

    And these efforts have begun showing results. The Blanco Telescope has discovered asteroid 2020 AV2, which is sized between 1-3 kilometers. Earlier it was not visible as this asteroid revolves around the sun in an orbit closer than Venus. This close proximity to the Sun resulted in image processors not picking up the asteroid amid the solar glare.

    As can be seen, that the method is not all-encompassing, but this is a start and can help reveal many asteroids that the world did not know about so far. However, that also means many asteroids can still sneak up on us during the day when the glare of the Sun is at its blinding best.

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    First Published Date: 04 Aug, 16:11 IST
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