Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A sharper look at near Earth asteroid 2002 NY40

04.09.2002


The Near Earth Asteroid 2002 NY40 was observed with the William Herschel Telescope on La Palma, Canary Islands, on the night of August 17 to 18, 2002. The asteroid was imaged just before its closest approach to Earth, using the Adaptive Optics system NAOMI. These are the first images of a Near Earth Asteroid obtained with an Adaptive Optics system. During these observations the asteroid was 750,000 kilometres away, twice the distance to the Moon, and moving very rapidly across the sky (crossing a distance similar to the diameter of the Moon in 6 minutes or at 65,000 kilometres per hour). Despite the technical difficulties introduced by this, very high quality images were obtained in the near-infrared with a resolution of 0.11 arcseconds. This resolution is close to the theoretical limit of the telescope, and sets an upper limit to the size of the asteroid: only 400 metres across at the time of the observations.

Measuring the size of asteroids helps astronomers understand their nature and formation history as well as the potential threat they pose.

Near Earth Asteroids are a small population of asteroids that periodically approach or intersect the orbit of our planet, and have the possibility of colliding with the Earth as probably happened 65 million years ago, ending the dinosaur era. However, the probability that such an impact could happen is very low and in particular Near Earth Asteroid 2002 NY40 represents no danger to human live on Earth.



Close encounters of large Near Earth Asteroids such as 2002 NY40 on August 18 happen approximately every 50 years. The last known case was NEA 2001 CU11 which passed just outside the Moon`s orbit on August 31, 1925. Nobody saw that approach because that asteroid was not discovered until 77 years later. 2002 NY40 was discovered on July 14, 2002 by the LINEAR telescope in New Mexico (USA), providing a unique opportunity to obtain observations of the asteroid from the Earth during its flyby.

Several observers have reported variations in the brightness of 2002 NY40, suggesting that it is highly elongated and tumbling. Further monitoring of these variations will tell us whether the asteroid was viewed end-on or side-on, and thus allowing the determination of the size and the shape more precisely.

NAOMI is the WHT`s Adaptive Optics system, built by a team from the University of Durham and the Astronomy Technology Centre, UK. It incorporates a system of fast-moving mirror elements which correct in real-time for the defocusing of stars caused by the Earth`s turbulent atmosphere. In good conditions, NAOMI delivers images as sharp as those from Hubble Space Telescope.

The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) is an establishment of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) of the United Kingdom, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) of the Netherlands and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in Spain. The ING operates the 4.2 metre William Herschel Telescope, the 2.5 metre Isaac Newton Telescope, and the 1.0 metre Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope. The telescopes are located in the Spanish Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma which is operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).

The ING NAOMI team consists of Dr. Chris Benn, Dr. Sebastian Els, Dr. Tom Gregory, Dr. Roy Østensen and Dr. Francisco Prada.

Javier Méndez | AlphaGalileo

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physicists discover that lithium oxide on tokamak walls can improve plasma performance
22.05.2017 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan
22.05.2017 | City College of New York

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>