Did you know there are more than 15,000 objects floating near Earth in space?

Nov 10, 2016, 6:29 AM
(AP Photo/NASA, ESA, UCLA, D. Jewitt)...
(AP Photo/NASA, ESA, UCLA, D. Jewitt)
(AP Photo/NASA, ESA, UCLA, D. Jewitt)

Welcome asteroid discovery, 2016 TB57!

With the recent discovery of this tiny little asteroid, astronomers are now showing at least 15,197 objects that are simply known as Near-Earth Asteroids, or NEAs.

These are small bodies that can and do come close to the Earth over time.

Asteroids are thought to have formed,for the most part, in the void of space that lies between Mars and Jupiter.

Some asteroids are very large, such as the dwarf planet Ceres — which is about the size of Texas — down to objects that are a few meters across.

Most of these NEAs are discovered on a regular basis, with the large telescopes equipped with CCD cameras from either the Catalina Sky Survey, here in Arizona, or the great Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System in Hawaii.

Did you know that asteroids are grouped into classifications, just like insects or animals?

Amors are asteroids that cross the orbit of Mars and come close to the Earth. Apollos are asteroids that cross the orbit of Earth.

The February 2013 Russian fireball was a member of the Apollo asteroid group. Apollos spend most of their time outside the orbit of Earth.

Atens are a group of asteroids that cross the orbit of the Earth, but spend most of their time inside the orbit of Earth.

Finally, a new class of asteroid has come to pass — the Apohele. This type of asteroid spends all of its time inside the orbit of Earth.

A dozen of these type of objects have been recorded to date, with more being discovered on a monthly basis.

So with all these objects flying around in space, are we close to an impact any time soon? No one really knows for sure, but we seem to be in the clear with the 15,000 objects which have calculated orbits, for now.

Objects that have caused concern for astronomers over the past decade include asteroids such as Apophis. The object, some 270 meters in size, will pass within 18,300 miles on April 13, 2029.

It was once thought to have a higher chance of hitting Earth, but has been given the all-clear.

It will return to the proximity of Earth once again in 2036.

Another asteroid, 4179 Toutatis, named after a Celtic tribal protector, will make a few close passes to Earth over the next few decades, but no impact is expected. This object is about 4.6 kilometers in size — very large indeed!

More discoveries like these are in the works!

To learn more about asteroids and the types that lie out there, click here.

Get your personal November star chart by going here.

See you on the radio!

Dr. Sky Blog

(Unsplash Photo)...
Steve Kates

Mark your stargazing calendar for these upcoming October treats

As the year moves on, the skies of October will be some of the best that Arizona can offer!
7 days ago
The Strawberry Supermoon sets in front of the NASA Artemis rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard ...
Steve Kates

‘Cancer moonshot’ brings back memories of JFK space-race speech 60 years ago this week

President John F. Kennedy gave a speech 60 years ago to set a goal of sending men to the moon. Now, NASA is returning to the moon.
14 days ago
(Public Domain Pictures Photo)...
Steve Kates

Here’s how you can get a great view of the harvest moon Sept. 9

One of the most memorable of the full moons of 2022 is the upcoming harvest moon! Look for the rising harvest moon on the evening of Sept. 9.
21 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Steve Kates

September skies feature harvest moon, 4 of the planets for viewing

With fall just around the corner and the traditional end of the summer monsoon season, we will soon return to those great Arizona skies.
28 days ago
Liftoff of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and integrated Orion spacecraft is targeted for 8:33 a...
Steve Kates

Upcoming launch of Artemis I moon rocket kicks off another moon quest

The next great leap to space will occur soon with the launch of the Artemis I moon rocket.
1 month ago
(NASA Photo)...
Steve Kates

Grab binoculars or telescope – Jupiter and Mars are coming into full view

Jupiter and Mars are coming closer to Earth, which is going to give skywatchers a really good look at them through binoculars or a telescope.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Did you know there are more than 15,000 objects floating near Earth in space?