For several days it was calculated that asteroid 2022 AE1 could have hit Earth on July 4, 2023, but later calculations ruled this out.
On January 6 of this year, an asteroid was discovered, which seriously alerted scientists; the calculations on its orbit indeed suggested an impact against the Earth on July 4, 2023. To make the scenario even more worrying, the fact that the level of risk continued to increase day by day. Since 2022 AE1 – this is the name of the “space stone” – has an estimated diameter of 70 meters, any collision with the surface of the earth can cause serious damage locally, especially if a densely populated area is involved. Fortunately, follow-up observations conducted after the discovery first mitigated and then completely avoided the danger, but we really came very close to an “unprecedented” emergency for humanity.
It all started when the Mount Lemmon Observatory Telescope in Arizona, part of the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) Near-Earth Object (NEO) monitoring network, targeted 2022 AE1. The potential future impact was calculated by the Automated Asteroid Orbit Determination (AstOD) system. Since more detections are needed to determine the real risk of impact with Earth, after the discovery, astronomers got to work doing all the necessary simulations and calculations. Almost exactly three days after the first sighting, the probabilities of impact were calculated at 1 in 2,900 (a bit from an astronomical point of view), they dropped to 1 in 1,800 after 5.9 days and 1 in 1,500 after 7.1 days.
The growing risk has made many chairs jump and it is not unlikely to imagine in research centers scenes similar to those seen in Don’t Look Up, immediately after the discovery of comet Dibiansky (naturally with the righteous proportions, given that the celestial body in the film had a diameter of 9 kilometers and therefore the ability to trigger a mass extinction). At 7.9 days, the risk decreased to 1 in 2,800, but then rose again to 1 in 1,700 after 8.1 days. given that the celestial body in the film had a diameter of 9 kilometers and therefore the ability to trigger a mass extinction). At 7.9 days, the risk decreased to 1 in 2,800, but then rose again to 1 in 1,700 after 8.1 days. given that the celestial body in the film had a diameter of 9 kilometers and therefore the ability to trigger a mass extinction). At 7.9 days, the risk decreased to 1 in 2,800, but then rose again to 1 in 1,700 after 8.1 days.
At that time, the Full Moon revealed itself and researchers lost the ability to continue monitoring asteroid 2022 AE1, making the wait particularly unnerving, as astronomer Marco Micheli points out in a press release. of the Near-Earth Object Coordination Center (NEOCC). of the European Space Agency (ESA). “In almost ten years at ESA, I have never seen such a risky object,” said Dr Micheli. “It was exciting to plot 2022 AE1 and refine its trajectory until we have enough data to say with certainty that this asteroid will not hit us,” added the scientist. When the Moon disturbance moved out of the way, an impact probability of 1 in 71,000 was determined on day 16.1 and thereafter zero risk was determined. We now know that on July 4, 2023, asteroid 2022 AE1 will pass about 10 million kilometers from Earth (more than 20 times that which separates us from the Moon) and that there will be no risk of collision. Not just next year, but for the next hundred years, according to the researchers.
“Asteroid 2022 AE1 does not present any risk of impact,” commented scientist Laura Faggioli, also an expert at NEOCC who calculated the orbit of 2022 AE1. “If the trajectory of 2022 AE1 had remained uncertain, we would have used all possible means to continue observing it with the largest telescopes available to us. Since it was removed from our risk list, we no longer need to track it: it’s time to move on to the next one,” said the scientist. Although the risk of impact with this stone from space has been ruled out, sooner or later we will have to face one of these objects from deep space. It is estimated that every 100 million years a colossus such as Chicxulub, the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, crashes on Earth. Precisely in light of this risk,
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