Rare Asteroid Found Between Earth And The Sun
A big, rare asteroid has been discovered by astronomers. The asteroid “sets a record for the shortest year among space rocks smaller than a planet,” CNET reports.
The asteroid is tagged 2019 LF6, and it goes around the sun in 151 days. It also goes round space in a very rare curved loop. Sometimes, the rare asteroid moves closer to the sun than Mercury on one side. It also inches past Venus on its other end.
The 2019 LF6, according to the report, is now one of the 20 asteroids known as the Atira. These are bodies that move around the sun but only navigate around the Earth’s orbit.
However, this one is even more unusual because it is huge. The astronomer credited with the discovery of the asteroid, Quanzhi Ye said, “You don’t find kilometre-size asteroids very often these days. Now that most of (the larger objects) have been found, the bigger ones are rare birds.”
“Its unique orbit explains why such a large asteroid eluded several decades of careful searches,” he added.
The Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory was used to spot the asteroid. It was the tool used to discover the other Atira asteroid earlier in 2019. The objects move in a perpendicular distance around the solar system.
This discovery suggests that there could be more asteroids to be found between the Earth and the Sun. Usually, most of these type of objects are found deeper in outer space.
A scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Tom Prince, said the new discovery means that “sometime in the past (the asteroids) were flung out of the plane of the solar system because they came too close to Venus or Mercury.”