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February 28, 2011

Record Number of Asteroid Discoveries in Hawaii

It seems a person in Hawaii actually saw 19 near-earth asteroids on the evening on January 29th, just under a month ago. There are a couple things interesting about this.

One, it shows how great the telescope called PS1 really is. It's hard to argue that it is the world's most powerful telescope after discoveries like these. The reason it took so long to reach the public is because the spotted objects had to be verified and confirmed as real asteroids.

Second, two of these asteroids are of particular interest to many astronomers since their orbits come very close to the Earth. That is, there is a possibility these particular asteroids could hit the Earth within the next 100 years, though there is no need for fear currently.

I find it interesting that it's possible these asteroids could contact Earth. I feel stories like this come up often, but astronomers discover that the likelihood of collision is very rare in the end. However, with astronomers discovering new asteroids and comets and planet-like objects at an increasing rate, perhaps our planet is at greater risk for collisions and perhaps new discoveries will be made in the near future. The best part about astronomy is that it changes as we speak, it is not written in stone.


Posted by nikraman at February 28, 2011 11:58 PM


PS1 is quite an achievement. We will all have to get used to a flood of announcements of new asteroids being discovered. Of the professors in the U-M Astro department is a member of the PanSTARRS team if you want to know about this facility.

Posted by: christoq at March 9, 2011 05:39 PM

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