Tech & Science 'Damn close' asteroid due to speed past Earth

05:50  13 august  2017
05:50  13 august  2017 Source:   Sky News

Ancient Asteroid Family Dates Back to Our Solar System's Early Days

  Ancient Asteroid Family Dates Back to Our Solar System's Early Days A newfound ancient family of asteroids is nearly as old as the solar system, and it could shed light on how Earth and the other planets formed.In the early days of the solar system, rocky material clumped together into bodies known as planetesimals. Some of these planetesimals collected to form the planets, while others mostly settled in the main belt of asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter.

A house-sized asteroid due to pass Earth in October is currently " damn close ", the European Space Agency says. The asteroid is forecast to speed inside the moon's orbit at 27,300 miles (43,935km) - an eighth of the distance between the Earth and the moon.

A house-sized asteroid due to pass Earth in October is currently “ damn close ”, the European Space Agency says. The asteroid is forecast to speed inside the moon’s orbit at 27,300 miles (43,935km) – an eighth of the distance between the Earth and the moon.

ESO / ESA NEOCC / O. Hainaut (ESO), M. Micheli (ESA) & D. Koschny (ESA),© Other ESO / ESA NEOCC / O. Hainaut (ESO), M. Micheli (ESA) & D. Koschny (ESA),

A house-sized asteroid due to pass Earth in October is currently "damn close", the European Space Agency says.

The asteroid is forecast to speed inside the moon's orbit at 27,300 miles (43,935km) - an eighth of the distance between the Earth and the moon.

The ESA says it is far enough to just miss our geostationary satellites orbiting at about 22,000 miles (35,405km).

"It will not hit the Earth, that's the most important thing to say," said Detlef Koschny of ESA's near-Earth object research team.

The small asteroid, about 15-30m long (49-98ft), has been dubbed TC4.

Asteroid family is as old as the Solar System itself

  Asteroid family is as old as the Solar System itself To date, astronomers haven't seen asteroid families (that is, asteroids with a common source) in the Solar System older than about 3 billion years -- well after the star system came to be 4.5 billion years ago. However, they'll have to rethink their expectations. Researchers studying asteroid data (including infrared radiation from the WISE space telescope) have found an asteroid family that's over 4 billion years years old, and likely as old as the Solar System itself. The trick was to both rule out existing asteroid families and look for the telltale signs of a very, very old group of rocks.

' Damn close ' asteroid due to speed past Earth Sky News (Today) - A house-sized asteroid due to pass Earth in October is currently " damn close ", the European Space Agency says .

' Damn close ' asteroid due to speed past Earth Sky News (Today) - A house-sized asteroid due to pass Earth in October is currently " damn close ", the European Space Agency says .

It first passed Earth in October 2012 at double the distance, before disappearing.

The original observations revealed its next approach would be in October 2017, but its orbit meant it could not be tracked.

However, the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, in Chile, has now located the rock and determined its distance.

"It's damn close... this is indeed a close miss," said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre in Germany.

"As close as it is right now, I think this prediction is pretty safe... meaning that it will miss."

The ESA said the asteroid's pass is an excellent opportunity to assess man's ability to respond to a "real asteroid threat".

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