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 Tracing aromatic molecules in the early universe
23.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht New study maps space dust in 3-D
23.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>