We all know how we get excited when we find something new, that’s important for us. Just like that, astronomers are always happy when they see something new in our Solar System. Mostly asteroids. Most of them have long orbits around the Sun, and they roam around our Solar System. Sometimes, they get too close to Earth. Then they resume their journey around the Sun.
Recently, astronomers have found an asteroid that doesn’t go far from the Sun, even when it reaches its further point. This asteroid is known as 2019 LF6, and it completes an orbit of our Sun every 151 days. It is closer to the Sun than it is to Mercury.
This asteroid travels in an orbit that takes it in Mercury’s orbit, then goes around the Sun, then goes past the orbit of Venus. It never really comes close to Earth, and the team of scientists didn’t even know it existed until now. The asteroid is about a km in width, which is even more interesting, that it stayed hidden for so long.
About 30 years ago, people started to look for asteroids, find more massive objects, and now, the ones they see that are big, are like some rare birds. This asteroid that we are talking about is weird in both orbit and size, and its unusual orbit shows why this kind of giant asteroid has tricked several decades of thorough searches.
Why is it challenging to find asteroids near the Sun?
Asteroids that go close to the Sun, and that don’t come near Earth are quite tricky to be found. Researchers have to focus on their resources in order to analyze them: they need to do it before the sunrise and after the sunset. They hope to find the objects before the light of the Sun overwhelms the instruments they are using to stop the objects.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.