December 1, 2021

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An asteroid came very close to Earth but astronomers did not see it

Small and stealthy, a On October 24, the refrigerator-sized asteroid approached 3,000 kilometers from Earth – over Antarctica. It went unnoticed by astronomers for hours until it disappeared. From a cosmic point of view, it was much closer, closer than some satellites, although its size would not pose a serious threat to humanity.

According to the path of The 2 meter diameter space rock, known as 2021 UA1, is the third closest asteroid to the planet.. It went at an altitude of about 3,000 kilometers, closer than the communications satellites in geostationary orbit but higher than the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS). If it had come a little closer to Earth, it would have decomposed into our atmosphere.

Why don’t NASA astronomers see it? Scientists did not notice the asteroid 2021 UA1 because it approached the daytime side of the Earth from the direction of the sun, so the small rock passed close to its nearest point and remained unnoticed for about 4 hours.

To date, NASA has identified about 27,000 near-Earth objects, of which about 9,800 are at least 140 m in diameter and 890 in diameter at 1 km.

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“The reason the planet’s flight was so amazing was because it came from behind the sun, from the daytime sky, and could not be detected before approaching.”He tweeted Tony Dunn, astronomer who runs the OrbitCimulator website.

To date, NASA has identified about 27,000 near-Earth objects, of which about 9,800 are at least 140 m in diameter and 890 1 km in diameter, according to CNEOS. According to NASA, for an object to be considered dangerous, it must be at least 140 meters in diameter.

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Currently, there are no threats of an earthquake in the next century, but unknown objects approaching the Earth could have unexpected impacts, i.e. the 2013 event Chelyabinsk (Russia), It exploded in the air as soon as it entered the atmosphere, releasing 20 to 30 times more energy than the first atomic bombs.

Asteroid 2021 UA1 is said to be closest to Earth from the direction of the Sun, which has not been detected by astronomers.

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The asteroid damaged more than 7,000 buildings and injured more than 1,000 people, and its explosive wave shattered windows 100 kilometers away. The asteroid was not detected because it came from the same direction and orbit as the Sun.

Now, Many scientists are preparing for a dangerous asteroid approaching Earth. Faced with such an event, NASA conducted a week-long simulation in May, but concluded that there was no technology on Earth to prevent it.

Although the affected area surrounds North Africa and much of Europe, the only answer is to evacuate the area before the asteroid strikes. For their part, Chinese researchers are considering sending more than 20 rockets capable of landing a large asteroid.


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