‘Planet Killer’ Asteroid Spotted Lurking in Sun’s Glare, Heading for Earth

'Planet Killer' Asteroid Spotted Lurking in Sun's Glare, Heading for Earth
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A great asteroid is heading towards from the earth orbit, but astronomers aren’t worried.

The rock has a diameter of 1.1 to 2.3 km and has been named 2022 AP7, discovered between the orbits of Earth and Venus.

The study, written in astronomical diary and conducted by the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, said it was the largest planet-killer-sized asteroid seen in eight years.

It was found through the Blanco 4-meter telescope in Chile.

2022 AP7 is one of three “pretty big” space rocks that could be dangerous, and may even be in the top 5% of the largest ever found, according to astronomers.

Study lead author Scott Sheppard explained that “any asteroid larger than 1 kilometer in size is considered a planet killer” because it would cause dust and pollutants to be pushed into the atmosphere.

And they could potentially stay there for a long time, blocking out sunlight and potentially causing a “mass extinction event” that hasn’t been seen on Earth for millions of years, according to Sheppard.

But while the idea of ​​an asteroid approaching Earth may remind people Adam McKay’s dystopian film “Don’t Look Up”, there’s a reason astronomers aren’t sounding the alarm.

It’s not likely to hit Earth, just Earth’s orbit. Our planet will be on the other side of the sun during its annual rotation when 2022 AP7 approaches it, meaning there’s no chance of a collision any time soon.

Sheppard warned that it will eventually move closer to Earth during its orbit, but this will be centuries from now.

He added: “We don’t know the orbit of 2022 AP7 precisely enough to say much about its dangers centuries from now.”

In September, NASA Dart Mission to deter an asteroid was successful.

This could become a blueprint for avoiding any collision with Earth, suggesting that in the future we will be better protected against such dangers, although 2022 AP7 is probably too big to stop in this way right now with just one dart.

Director of the National Near Earth Object Information Center, Jay Tate, said The Guardian that Earth was a very small target.

“At the moment, however, the probability of impact is quite low. I wouldn’t say insignificant, but pretty low,” she said.

A television at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, captures the final images from the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART).
A television at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, captures the final images from the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART).

JIM WATSON via Getty Images

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