Fastest orbiting asteroid in solar system discovered by US astronomers: Know more in details
The fastest orbiting asteroid discovered in Solar System has been dubbed as “2021 PH27”. The space rock is 1 kilometer in diameter and completes its orbit in just 113 Earth days.
The Astronomers at the Carnegie Institution of Science (CIS) announced that they have discovered the fastest orbiting asteroid ever spotted in the solar system.
The research leader and an astronomer at the CIS, Scott Sheppard said in a statement that though telescope time for the astronomers is very precious, the international nature and the love of the unknown make astronomers very willing to override their own science and follow up new, interesting discoveries like this.
The latest work was reported to the Minor Planet Centre. It is an official body for observing and reporting on minor planets under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union.
Meet 2021 PH27, which is about 1 kilometer in size and orbits the Sun in just 113 days, the second shortest known orbital period of any object in the Solar System after Mercury. https://t.co/iY2EGXcIbX pic.twitter.com/F5bUH2bqDa— Carnegie Science (@carnegiescience) August 23, 2021
Discovery of fastest orbiting asteroid:
The fastest orbiting asteroid, 2021 PH27, was first detected on August 13, 2021, by astronomers using the Dark Energy Camera (DEC). It is a powerful multipurpose instrument that uses the images taken in the near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared for measuring the expansion of the universe.
The team of astronomers was able to pin down the asteroid’s orbit over the next few days because of the observations by DEC and the Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.
Fastest orbiting asteroid: Key details
• The fastest orbiting asteroid has been dubbed as “2021 PH27”. It is 1 kilometer in diameter and completes its orbit in just 113 Earth days.
• The scientists noted that 113 Earth days is the shortest orbital period of any known solar system object except the Mercury planet, which takes only 88 days to orbit around the Sun.
• As per the scientists, the space rock also gets extremely close to the Sun by reaching proximity of about 20 million kilometers. In comparison to it, Mercury gets as close as 46 million km (approx.).
Is asteroid’s close proximity to the sun dangerous?
The scientists explained that the fastest orbiting asteroid’s such close proximity to the sun means that the asteroid’s surface at times burns up to 500 degrees Celsius.
2021 PH27 is on an unstable orbit that crosses that of Mercury and Venus. This means that within a few million years it will likely be destroyed in a collision with one of these planets or the Sun, or it will be ejected from its current position. pic.twitter.com/AtbNNxrFqD— Carnegie Science (@carnegiescience) August 23, 2021
The scientists have cautioned that the orbit is not stable. They added that there are chances that the asteroid will collide with the Sun, Venus, or Mercury a few million years from now if the asteroid does not get altered from its current path by a gravitational interaction first.