tech2 News StaffJan 15, 2020 09:00:22 IST
A team of astronomers has discovered an asteroid that orbits the sun very closely. Most asteroids orbiting the Sun fall into the asteroid belt, which is located beyond Jupiter, at the outer edge of the solar system.
The newly-discovered asteroid, however, has an orbit between Mars and Venus. Dubbed 2020 AV2, the newly-discovered asteroid has an orbit between Mercury and Venus. It has a diameter between one to three kilometers.
Astronomers have described the space rock as an entirely "new class of solar system objects." What with it being so close to the Sun, it has the smallest axis and aphelion of any objects known so far, they added.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory revealed that the asteroid will make its close approach to the earth on 14 October 2020, when it is expected to be some 11 million km from Earth.
The team of astronomers at Zwicky Transient Facility clarifies that this doesn't yet mean that 2020 AV2 is the closest asteroid to the Sun. Many asteroids make close approaches of the Sun — often, these approaches are brief, and last only a small portion of the asteroid's full orbit.
For instance, Icarus is the asteroid that comes closer to the sun than Mercury once every 13 months. Yet, is spends a very brief period of time in such close range, before its orbit whisks it away again. Last year, a comet was seen making a suicidal plunge right into the Sun, with all the action caught in video by the SOHO observatory.
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