Why report on an asteroid that has no opportunity of striking Earth? Since this asteroid, referred to as 2006 QV89, has a history. A history of being type of tough to track.

As the name states, this asteroid was found in2006 It’s a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA, or NEO, for Near-Earth Things.) A things is categorized as an NEO when its perihelion, or closest method to the Sun, is within 1.3 huge systems And if it’s orbit crosses the Earth’s orbit, and the things is bigger than 140 meters (460 feet) throughout, it’s called a Possibly Dangerous Things(PHO.)

2006 QV89 has to do with 30 meters (100 feet) in size, so it’s too little to do adequate damage to be a PHO. However we didn’t constantly understand that QV89 wasn’t harmful.

QV89 was tough to track in the beginning, much like a great deal of asteroids. One appears in the sky, researchers have a short window of time to constrain its size and orbit, then in a couple of days it can be gone. And it might not show up once again for years. Based upon that quick observational window, astronomers need to choose whether it’s a threat or not, and if it needs to be placed on the danger list (All that the danger list suggests is that the things on it have a non-zero opportunity of striking list. Not extremely valuable, truly.)

2006 QV 89’s orbit. Image Credit: ESA

When QV89 was very first spotted, it was just noticeable for 10 days. That’s very little time to find out if it positions a risk. In this asteroid’s case, no one was specific. The very best price quote was that it had a 1 in 7,000 opportunity of striking Earth in September2019 So it was placed on the danger list.

Astronomers wished to track this asteroid, however they didn’t understand where to look. If that seems like an overwhelming issue, it’s not. What researchers do understand is where QV89 would need to remain in the sky, it it were to strike Earth. That suggests that even without seeing this thing, we can dismiss an effect.

A 2010 Perseid meteor streaks over the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Credit: ESO
A 2010 Perseid meteor streaks over the European Southern Observatory’s Large Telescope (VLT). Credit: ESO

On July fourth and fifth, ESO and ESA astronomers utilized the Large Telescope(VLT) to penetrate the night sky. Rather of browsing fruitless for the little rock, they pointed the huge telescope at where the asteroid must be, if it were heading for us. The effort belongs to the on-going cooperation in between the ESA and the ESO to observe high-risk asteroids. The VLT, with its 8.2 meter main mirror, has the power to see asteroids moving through area, if you understand where to point it.

They saw absolutely nothing. They took a really deep picture of the location of the sky where 2006 QV89 would need to be if it was going to strike our world in September, and it wasn’t there.

Nope. No asteroid. If 2006 QV89 was going to strike Earth, it would need to remain in this image. The 3 red crosses reveal where it would need to be if it was going to strike us. Image Credit: ESO/ O. Hainaut/ ESA

The above is a picture of the area of the sky where asteroid 2006 QV89 would be, just if it was on a clash with Earth in2019 The image was taken with the European Southern Observatory’s Large Telescope (VLT). The sector revealed by the 3 red crosses in this image reveals where the asteroid would be if it was on a clash. It’s been processed to eliminate background star contamination, so if it remained in this image, asteroid 2006 QV89 would look like a single brilliant round light inside the sector.

Even if the asteroid was smaller sized than astronomers believe, possibly just a couple of metres throughout, it would appear. Any smaller sized than that and the VLT would not have actually seen it. However that held true, then 2006 QV89 would likewise be safe. Anything that little would merely would burn up in Earth’s environment.

So we’re safe. In the meantime. There’s formally a no percent opportunity of it striking Earth, and the ESA has actually taken 2006 QV89 off its danger list. We might never ever become aware of it once again.