New research from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveals that asteroids somewhat near Earth, termed near-Earth objects, are a mixed bunch, with a surprisingly wide array of compositions. Like a piņata filled with everything from chocolates to fruity candies, these asteroids come in assorted colours and compositions. Some are dark and dull; others are shiny and bright. The Spitzer observations of 100 known near-Earth asteroids demonstrate that the objects diversity is greater than previously thought.The findings are helping astronomers better understand near-Earth objects as a whole -- a population whose physical properties are not well known.
A video showing how many asteroids are circulating the Earth has been created by British astronomer Scott Manley.It shows the locations of all the asteroids discovered by telescopes since 1980 through to the present day.
One of NASA's newest space telescopes has spotted 25,000 never-before-seen asteroids in just six months.Ninety-five of those are considered "near Earth," but in the language of astronomy that means within 30 million miles. Luckily for us, none poses any threat to Earth anytime soon.
Most of us do what we can for the environment, but Rik Hill's actual job is to protect the planet.
Astronomers have long worried that a large space rock would remain undetected until it was about to smash into Earth, in what might be called the "Armageddon" scenario. In that 1998 blockbuster starring Bruce Willis, the rock in question is described as "the size of Texas."The truth is that even a boulder measuring 200 feet across -- as wide as a soccer field -- could kill thousands.Now, however, the odds of an apocalypse-by-asteroid are shrinking.
Scientists in Hawaii are using what is believed to be the world's largest digital camera to search for killer asteroids.Pan-STARRS, or Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, contains a 1,400 megapixel digital camera that searches for objects that move or change brightness from one night to the next.
UK planetary science will be among those to benefit from an exceptional award of 82 nights of European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescope time made to an international team of astronomers. The team will study how near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) react to a phenomenon known as the YORP effect.
While our planet rarely collides with planetoids or comets larger than a couple of hundred metres in diameter, they have a tremendous appeal on the imagination, comparable perhaps to the shark, another age-old Hollywood darling. According to their report, only 3 to 6 swimmers die in shark attacks annually, while smoking costs five million lives annually, but does not do so well at the box office. Traffic worldwide takes 1.2 million lives every year.Meteorites' death toll clocks in at 91 people a year, according to the report. On average that is. An average reconstituted over millions of theoretical years. Commonly, a single strike might claim countless lives, while most years will remain without incident.