Shocking! This wild asteroid appeared from nowhere, and headed for Earth; scientists hit by blind spot | Tech News

Shocking! This wild asteroid appeared from nowhere, and headed for Earth; scientists hit by blind spot

An asteroid that appeared from a blind spot and headed for the Earth shocked scientists. The asteroid seems to have come from nowhere. They are now studying the finding of asteroid. Horrifically, Earth was exposed to an unexpected asteroid strike.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jul 21 2022, 12:48 IST
Asteroid and Earth
The risk of unexpected asteroid strikes are concerning scientists after this asteroid, which hid in the Earth’s blind spot, was discovered today. (Pixabay)

On July 25, 2019, an asteroid was barrelling towards the Earth but nobody had a clue. As the asteroid 2019 OK approached the Earth, it was only 30 minutes before the asteroid came closest to Earth that the scientific community received the first alert. Why? Because the asteroid was making its way from the blind spot of the Earth — the direction of the Sun. As the brightly-lit Sun makes it impossible to observe anything in the sky, the asteroid avoided detection. Luckily, this asteroid was not aiming for the Earth and no collisions occurred that day. However, it did raise the fear that if an asteroid targeting the Earth did appear from the direction of the Sun and we had too little time to take action, what would happen? Read on to find out.

Even with just 30 minutes in hand, one space observatory did not give up on spotting the asteroid 2019 OK to gather as much information about it as possible. It was the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the team of astronomers under Luisa Fernanda Zambrano-Marin that tracked it, as per a report by SciTechDaily. Within minutes, the radar scientists honed in on the asteroid and the team began collecting data at a lightning speed. That was in 2019. Now, on June 10, 2022, her findings were finally published in the Planetary Science Journal and it has highlighted how small a notice period is enough to assess risk factors and to start a possible anti-asteroid defense mechanism.

Asteroids exploiting the blind spot of Earth raise concerns of an unexpected asteroid strike

“It was a real challenge. No one saw it until it was practically passing by, so when we got the alert, we had very little time to act. Even so, we were able to capture a lot of valuable information,” Zambrano-Marin told SciTechDaily.

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It was important to collect data on any asteroid making a close approach to the Earth as any unidentified asteroid can pose a serious threat to the planet. Just a month ago, the European Space Agency (ESA) was able to eliminate the risk of asteroid 2021 QM1 crashing into our planet in 2052 after extended observations of the asteroid. Astronomers across the world watch over more than 30,000 asteroids and have collected data on it to ensure that at least in this century, the Earth is not likely to be struck by a large asteroid. However, there are many more such asteroids floating around the solar system and the Earth that scientists need to observe, collect data and assess threats in order to secure our planet.

And to mitigate the blind spot problem, Zambrano-Marin believes radar technology can give us an edge on short notice. “The radar data not only helps confirm information from optical observations, but it can help us identify physical and dynamical characteristics, which in turn could give us insights into appropriate deflection techniques if they were needed to protect the planet,” she said.

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First Published Date: 21 Jul, 12:19 IST
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