Agosto 8, 2022

Conca Ternana Oggi

Ultime notizie e rapporti economici sull'Italia.

L’asteroide più pericoloso conosciuto dall’umanità l’anno scorso non colpirà la Terra per almeno 100 anni

L’asteroide “2021 QM1” è stato ufficialmente rimosso dall’elenco dei pericoli degli asteroidi dell’Agenzia spaziale europea. Rimangono altri 1.377 asteroidi. (L’impressione dell’artista di un asteroide che si precipita verso la Terra.)

L’impatto è escluso nel 2052 poiché l’Agenzia spaziale europea (ESA) inizia il conto alla rovescia per il giorno degli asteroidi

Giusto in tempo per la Giornata mondiale degli asteroidi: una roccia spaziale minacciata che è stata in cima alle liste dei rischi in tutto il mondo per mesi, con una reale possibilità di colpire la Terra il 2 aprile 2052. Ora, il team di asteroidi dell’Agenzia spaziale europea sta lavorando con esperti dell’Osservatorio dell’Europa meridionale ([{” attribute=””>ESO) has officially removed ‘2021 QM1’ from their asteroid risk list, a result of skilled observations and analysis of the faintest asteroid ever observed with one of the most sensitive telescopes ever constructed.

With Asteroid Day Live 2022 set for June 30, we can safely say that the riskiest asteroid known to humankind in the last year will not impact the Earth – at least not for the next century.

What was it like to track this asteroid? Get the full story in ESA’s fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how European experts handle asteroid risks in the official countdown to Asteroid Day live on June 30, airing at 10:25 CEST on AsteroidDay.org and via ESA WebTV.

Stars Hide Once-Risky Asteroid 2021 QM1

Asteroid 2021 QM1, once thought to have a chance of impacting Earth in 2052, was spotted passing through a region of the sky with the Milky Way just behind it. The small, faint, receding asteroid had to be found against a backdrop of thousands of stars, with red crosses indicating the path of the object. Credit: ESO/O. Hainaut

Impact 2052

2021 QM1 was first discovered on August 28, 2021, by the Mount Lemmon Observatory, located north of Tucson, Arizona. At the beginning, nothing stood out as unusual about the discovery – about a dozen new near-Earth asteroids are identified every dark night. Routine follow-up observations were subsequently acquired from telescopes around the globe, but these began to tell a more worrying story.

“These early observations gave us more information about the asteroid’s path, which we then projected into the future,” said Richard Moissl, ESA’s Head of Planetary Defense.

“We could see its future paths around the Sun, and in 2052 it could come dangerously close to Earth. The more the asteroid was observed, the greater that risk became.”

È importante notare che i calcoli dell’orbita basati solo su poche notti di osservazione sono soggetti a qualche incertezza, motivo per cui gli asteroidi vengono spesso aggiunti all’elenco dei rischi dell’ESA subito dopo essere stati scoperti e successivamente rimossi una volta raccolti altri dati, e incertezze diminuire la certezza. e l’asteroide si è rivelato sicuro. In questa occasione, ciò non è stato possibile.

Lo sfortunato allineamento cosmico

Proprio mentre il pericolo sembrava aumentare, si verificò un perfetto allineamento cosmico: il percorso dell’asteroide lo avvicinò al Sole visto dalla Terra, reso impossibile da vedere per diversi mesi dal brillante bagliore della nostra stella ospite.

Orbita dell'asteroide 2021 QM1

In orbita 2021 QM1 mentre passa vicino al Sole nel cielo visto dalla Terra, poco dopo la sua scoperta. Credito: ESA

“Abbiamo dovuto solo aspettare”, ha spiegato Marco Micheli, astronomo del Near-Earth Object Coordination Center (NEOCC) dell’Agenzia spaziale europea.

“Ma per fermare le cose, abbiamo appreso che anche il QM1 del 2021 si stava allontanando dalla Terra nella sua orbita attuale, il che significa che quando è uscito dal bagliore del sole, potrebbe essere troppo debole per essere rilevato”.

Mentre aspettavano, si prepararono.

Accesso prioritario a uno dei telescopi più potenti della Terra

Osservatorio Europeo Meridionale Telescopio molto grande (VLT) Era pronto e pronto. Una volta che l’asteroide alto 50 metri si allontana dalla luce solare e le condizioni meteorologiche lo permetteranno, il VLT dell’ESO concentrerà il suo specchio di 8 metri sulle rocce che stanno scomparendo.

La drammatica luna dietro il Very Large Telescope dell'ESO

Drammatico tramonto della luna dietro il VLT (Very Large Telescope) dell’ESO, Cile. Mentre la luna tramonta, il sole sta per sorgere sull’orizzonte opposto. Il Very Large Telescope (VLT) ha già chiuso gli occhi dopo una lunga notte di osservazioni, operatori di telescopi e astronomi dormono mentre tecnici diurni, ingegneri e astronomi si svegliano per una nuova giornata lavorativa. Le operazioni non si fermano mai all’Osservatorio Astronomico più produttivo del mondo. Credito: G.Gillet / ESO

“Abbiamo avuto una breve finestra per scoprire il nostro pericoloso asteroide”, ha spiegato Olivier Hainaut, un astronomo dell’ESO.

“A peggiorare le cose, stava attraversando un’area del cielo con[{” attribute=””>Milky Way just behind. Our small, faint, receding asteroid would have to be found against a backdrop of thousands of stars. These would turn out to be some of the trickiest asteroid observations we have ever made”.

Faintest asteroid ever observed

Over the night of May 24, ESO’s VLT took a series of new images. The data arrived and Olivier and Marco began to process them, stacking subsequent observations on top of each other and removing the background stars: it took some time.

VLT Asteroid 2021 QM1

ESO’s Very Large Telescope captures 2021 QM1 which for months topped risk lists around the globe. This pivotal sighting ruled out Earth impact in the year 2052. Over the night of May 24, the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope took a series of images of an asteroid that had topped risk lists around the globe for months. These images were some of the trickiest asteroid experts had taken, as the faint asteroid 2021 QM1 receded from view against a very starry backdrop. A series of images were processed, stacked on top of each other and stars were removed, revealing the faintest asteroid observed. Credit: ESA

The result? A positive detection of the faintest asteroid ever observed. With a magnitude of 27 on the scale used by astronomers to describe the brightness of objects in the sky, 2021 QM1 was 250 million times fainter than the faintest stars visible to the naked eye from a dark spot. (In this astronomical scale of visible magnitudes, the brighter an object appears the lower the value of its magnitude, while the brightest objects reach negative values, e.g. the Sun is magnitude -27).

Olivier was certain this small blur was in fact an asteroid, and Marco was certain that given its location, it was our asteroid.

Safe at last?

With these new observations, our risky asteroid’s path was refined, ruling out an impact in 2052, and 2021 QM1 was removed from ESA’s risk list. Another 1,377 remain.

Asteroids June 2022 With Gaia

The position of each asteroid at 12:00 CEST on June 13, 2022, is plotted. Each asteroid is a segment representing its motion over 10 days. Inner bodies move faster around the Sun (yellow circle at the center). Blue represents the inner part of the Solar System, where the Near Earth Asteroids, Mars crossers, and terrestrial planets are. The Main Belt, between Mars and Jupiter, is green. The two orange ‘clouds’ correspond to the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter. Credit: © ESA/Gaia/DPAC; CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO, Acknowledgments: P. Tanga (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur)

More than one million asteroids have been discovered in the Solar System, almost 30 000 of which pass near Earth, with many more expected to be out there. ESA’s Planetary Defence Office, NEOCC and astronomers around the globe are looking up to keep us safe, working together to ensure we know well in advance if an asteroid is discovered on a collision course.

Watch Asteroid Day Live

How worried are the world’s asteroid experts? How did it feel to track humankind’s most risky asteroid? Get the full story in ESA’s 30-minute program counting down to Asteroid Day live on June 30, airing at 10:25 CEST on AsteroidDay.org and on ESA WebTV.

Tunguska Devastation

Fallen trees at Tunguska, Imperial Russia, seen in 1929, 15 km from epicenter of the aerial blast site, caused by the explosion of a meteor in 1908. Credit: Photo N. A. Setrukov, 1928

Asteroid Day is the United Nations-sanctioned day of public awareness of the risks of asteroid impacts, held annually on June 30. This year sees its return to Luxembourg for an in-person event following two years of living entirely in the virtual realm. Asteroid experts from ESA, from across Europe and worldwide will converge on the city to take part in a packed four-hour live program of panels and one-on-one interviews.

READ  Testare in orbita un nuovo propulsore al plasma a base di iodio