How to avoid an asteroid hitting Earth and other planetary hazards
A series of recent news articles have highlighted the dangers of the small asteroid known as 2016 TC20, which has been making headlines since its discovery in July 2015.
The object is about 5km in diameter and is thought to be travelling at about 17,000km per hour, travelling at speeds of more than 10km per second.
The small asteroid was first detected by amateur astronomer Jeff Kober of California in December 2015 and its orbit was initially thought to point to Earth.
However, on January 26, the US space agency confirmed the object was heading directly towards Earth.
This is a significant step in the way that the space agency has identified a threat to the planet and the human species, said Dr Richard Shindell, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona.
“It has not yet been identified as an Earth-impact threat and there is a great deal more work to be done, but the potential for damage is enormous,” Dr Shindel said.
Scientists at the space centre near Tucson, Arizona have identified a large area of the asteroid’s surface that has been turned into a magnetosphere, or magnetic field, and this has allowed it to get much closer to Earth than previously thought.
But the object has now travelled even closer to the sun than previously expected.
On December 6, the space telescope, named Swift-Tuttle, captured images of the object travelling at a speed of around 17,800km per, which is still within the planetary magnetosphere.
What we know about TC20 2016 TC20 is an asteroid about 5 km in diameter that is about 17.4 km across and has a diameter of about 2.6 km.
It is about the size of a baseball and has been named after the US astronomer and geologist William T. Condon.
It is thought that TC20 may be moving closer to our planet as it orbits the sun every few days.
In 2016, TC20 was first seen by amateur astronomers.
It was then estimated to be about 500 million kilometres away from Earth.
Since then, the object’s orbit has been tracked by NASA’s Swift-Ti and is currently at a distance of just about 1,700km from Earth and a distance about one million kilometres from the sun.
2016 has also been tracked as a transit.
This involves the spacecraft tracking the object as it passes in front of the sun, which means it is moving along the plane of the plane parallel to the Earth’s surface.
This means it has a distance approximately equal to the distance between the Earth and the sun itself.
Tutel’s observations suggest that the object is moving much closer than previously estimated.
One of the things that has made TC20 a significant concern to scientists is that the asteroid is not being detected in orbit.
Its position on the sun’s magnetic field has not been tracked and it is thought it is travelling at an estimated speed of about 17km per day, which could cause severe damage to satellites and satellites’ batteries.
While there are other objects that could be heading towards Earth at a rate of about 1 per day and this object is likely to be much closer, its proximity to the Sun means that it could cause significant damage to solar panels and batteries, Dr Shandel said