Astronomers conducted exercises to identify an asteroid potentially dangerous to the Earth and calculate its orbit. The asteroid Apophis was chosen as a “training target”.
Asteroid detection exercises
The International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) of NASA conducted exercises to identify potentially dangerous asteroids for humanity. More than 100 scientists from different countries took part in them. The event showed that the observatories can respond promptly to the danger.
The well-known asteroid Apophis was chosen as a “training target”. It approached the Earth and it was known for sure that its trajectory would not lead to a collision. For training, this object was removed from all databases. Then scientists began to examine the starry sky in search of potentially dangerous objects.
The observatory in Arizona was the first to “rediscover” the asteroid. It registered it as a new body and transmitted information about it to the Minor Planet Center. Further, the existence of this object was confirmed by two telescopes on the Hawaiian Islands. And a little later, the Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission began to accompany the “new” asteroid.
According to the results of the research, scientists were able to quickly calculate the orbit of the asteroid. And then, when observing, adjust these calculations. The result was the conclusion that the “found” celestial body does not pose a danger to the Earth.
Asteroid Apophis and danger of collision
The asteroid Apophis is notable for the fact that it was previously considered the potentially most dangerous object for humanity. In the early 2000s, astronomers calculated that in 2029 it has a significant chance of crashing into our planet. Later observations made it possible to improve the calculations.
It turned out that there would definitely be no collision in 2029. Apophis will just once again get closer to the Earth. And for the next hundred years, it does not pose a danger to our planet. It became an ideal candidate for the role of an object on which to train.
The exercises conducted are valuable because they show how events would actually develop in the situation described in the film “Don’t look up“. Last year, it greatly frightened viewers around the world. However, as the last training showed, scientists monitor the affairs in the sky for many years ahead and are ready to promptly warn about the danger.
According to phys.org
Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time